A conservative approach to perineal Fournier's gangrene

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Giulio Milanese
Luigi Quaresima
Marco Dellabella
Alessandro Scalise
Giovanni Maria Di Benedetto
Giovanni Muzzonigro
Daniele Minardi *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Daniele Minardi | d.minardi@univpm.it

Abstract

Fournier’s gangrene (FG) is a disease involving necrosis of perineum and external genitalia; in 95% of cases it is possible to diagnose the Fournier’s gangrene just by physical examination. The clinical presentation of FG varies from an initial localized infection to large areas with necrotizing infection. The disease typically affect elderly men (6°-7° decade) with important systemic comorbidities; women are less frequently affected. Despite improvements in diagnosis and management, the mortality rate nowadays is between 20% and 43%. The severity and mortality of the disease is dependent upon the general condition of the patient at presentation and upon the rate of spread of the infection. Treatment involves a multidisciplinary approach: intensive systematic management, broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy, early surgical debridement (wide abscission of necrotic tissues and surgical drainage of peritoneum, scrotum, penis, and inguinal areas), hyperbaric oxygen therapy; surgery can eventually be repeated if necessary; reconstructive surgery has an important role in the final treatment of the disease. The technical difficulties frequently encountered and the inability to make a complete removal of the necrotizing tissues at the time of surgery in some cases has led to the application of combined techniques, in view of the enhancement effect of specific advanced medications, targeted antibiotic therapy and hyperbaric medicine. We have considered 6 patients affected by Fournier’s gangrene treated at our institution; all the patients received treatment with the help of plastic surgeons of the same institution. After debridement, all the patients were treated with advanced specific dressings consisting of plates and strips made of calcium alginate, hydrogels and polyurethane and twodimensional cavity foams. Reconstructive surgery was necessary in one case. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) has been performed in all cases. The multidisciplinary approach, the combined use of HBO therapy and the adoption of advanced specific dressings, have made possible the complete healing of the lesions in a shorter period, avoiding further surgery in 5 out of 6 patients.

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