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Am Surg. 2001 Feb;67(2):188-90.

Necrotizing fasciitis developing from a brown recluse spider bite.


A 20-year retrospective case series was analyzed to identify the brown recluse spider bite as a cause of necrotizing fasciitis. Data from 31 consecutive patients with necrotizing fasciitis were analyzed. Of the 31 patients with necrotizing fasciitis a brown recluse spider bite was found to be the initial cause in two patients. Both patients with spider bites delayed in obtaining medical treatment, and secondary infection of the necrotic tissue occurred. One patient was diagnosed by frozen section tissue biopsy, and the second patient was diagnosed by clinical examination. All patients in this series had immediate aggressive operative debridement. Both patients survived with functional limbs. There were no deaths in this large series. Necrotizing fasciitis can be caused by a secondarily infected brown recluse spider bite. Successful treatment of necrotizing fasciitis from any cause is associated with early diagnosis, immediate surgical debridement, and supplemental enteral or parenteral nutrition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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