Fournier's gangrene following a perianal abscess

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Fournier's disease is an uncommon form of gas gangrene involving the scrotum and perineum. Described by Fournier as an idiopathic condition it must be recognized as a synergistic gangrene secondary, in most cases, to a focus of perianal infection. Urinary tract infection and local trauma follow as possible causal factors. Five cases complicating a perianal abscess observed in a period of 11 years have been treated with urgent aggressive surgical debridement and intensive care support. Full-thickness skin grafts were required in three patients. Hospital mortality occurred in one case. Although combination antibiotic therapy and correct postoperative wound management are potentially successful, the mainstay of treatment is complete excision of all necrotic tissue. Colostomy and urinary diversion are not mandatory. Treatment with hyperbaric oxygen is controversial.

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