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Urology. 1996 Jun;47(6):935-9.

Gangrene of the perineum.

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  • 1Service d'Urologie, Hôpital Pasteur, Nice, France.


Fournier's gangrene, an anaerobic necrotizing cellulitis of the infradiaphragmatic soft tissues, is a serious pathologic entity with an unpredictable course. From 1978 to 1991, a total of 24 men (mean age, 57 years; range 27 to 90) were treated for this entity at our institution. Diagnosis prompted immediate institution of multimodal treatment combining triple antibiotics, surgical dissection, debridement, and repeated surgical drainage. Fecal diversion (16 patients), hyperbaric oxygenation, and standard intensive care procedures were widely indicated and performed quasi-systematically. The mean interval between initial symptoms and diagnosis was 7.4 days. Lesions were limited to the perineum in 11 patients but extended to the abdomen, thighs, or loins in the remaining 13. The pathogens were identified in 19 patients, and hemoculture results were positive in 5. A coloproctologic origin was identified in 12 patients and a urogenital origin in 4. In 2 patients, perineal gangrene occurred postoperatively, and no etiology was determined for 6. Six patients died, and 18 patients recovered, without any sequelae. The prognosis is better when the patient is young (less than 60 years old), has clinically localized disease, without systemic involvement, and sterile hemocultures and is managed with colostomy. A thorough workup is mandatory to determine the etiology (locoregional lesion, malignancy, hemopathy, arteritis).

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