Necrotizing fasciitis belongs to a group of complicated soft tissue infections that can be even life threatening. Despite growing knowledge about its etiology, predictors, and the clinical progression, the mortality remains at a high level with 20%. A relevant reduction can be achieved only by an early diagnosis followed by consistent therapy. The clinical findings in about 75% of the cases are pain out of proportion, edema and tenderness, blisters, and erythema. It is elementary to differentiate a necrotizing or a non-necrotizing soft tissue infection early. In uncertain cases it can be necessary to perform a surgical exploration to confirm the diagnosis. The histopathologic characteristics are the fascial necrosis, vasculitis, thrombosis of perforating veins, the presence of the disease-causing bacteria as well as inflammatory cells like macrophages and polymorphonuclear granulocytes. Secondly, both the cutis and the muscle can be affected. In many cases there is a disproportion of the degree of local and systemic symptoms. Depending on the infectious agents there are two main types: type I is a polymicrobial infection and type II is a more invasive, serious, and fulminant monomicrobial infection mostly caused by group A Streptococcus pyogenes.Invasive, severe forms of streptococcal infections seem to occur more often in recent years. Multimodal and interdisciplinary therapy should be based on radical surgical débridement, systemic antibiotic therapy as well as enhanced intensive care therapy, which is sometimes combined with immunoglobulins (in streptococcal or staphylococcal infections) or hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT, in clostridial infections). For wound care of extensive soft tissue defects vacuum-assisted closure has shown its benefit.
Herr, Grabein, Palm, Efinger, Riesner, Friemert, Willy, , (2011). [Necrotizing fasciitis. 2011 update]. Der Unfallchirurg, 2011 Mar;114(3):197-216. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21373930