The role of early surgical debridement and revascularization in patients with diabetes and deep foot space abscess: retrospective review of 106 patients with diabetes

J Foot Ankle Surg. 2006 Jul-Aug;45(4):220-6. doi: 10.1053/j.jfas.2006.04.002.


One hundred-six patients underwent emergency debridement of a deep foot space abscess. While 43 patients were admitted after an outpatient visit with immediate surgical debridement (group A), 63 patients were transferred from other hospitals after a mean stay of 6.2+/-7.5 days without debridement (group B). No significant differences were observed in the demographic and clinical features between the 2 groups, except for the following differences in group B: higher blood glucose level on admission (P=.015), lower serum albumin level (P=.005), and a more frequent extension of the infection to the heel (P=.005). Eradication of the infection was obtained in group A without amputation in 9 patients, with an amputation of 1 or more rays in 21, with metatarsal amputations in 12, and with a Chopart amputation in 1. In group B, incision and drainage alone were performed in 4 patients, amputation of 1 or more rays in 21, metatarsal amputations in 10, Chopart amputations in 23, and an above-the-ankle amputation in 5. The amputation level was significantly more proximal in group B (chi2=24.4, P<.001). There was no significant difference in the presence of peripheral arterial occlusive disease between the 2 groups (P=.841). Regression logistic analysis showed a significant relationship between the amputation level and the number of days elapsed before debridement (odds ratio, 1.61; P=.015; confidence interval, 1.10-2.36), but not with the presence of peripheral occlusive disease (odds ratio, 1.73; P=.376; confidence interval, 0.29-15.3). These data show that a delay in the surgical debridement of a deep space abscess increases the amputation level. Accuracy in the diagnosis of peripheral occlusive disease and immediate revascularization yield similar outcomes in patients with or without peripheral occlusive disease.

MeSH terms

  • Abscess / drug therapy
  • Abscess / etiology
  • Abscess / surgery*
  • Amputation, Surgical
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Debridement*
  • Diabetic Foot / complications
  • Diabetic Foot / drug therapy
  • Diabetic Foot / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures*


  • Anti-Infective Agents