Gangrene and Fournier's gangrene

Urol Clin North Am. 1992 Feb;19(1):149-62.


Fournier's gangrene is an aggressive disease affecting the perineum. Clearly, it can no longer by considered idiopathic in its origin, as most infection can be localized to a cutaneous, urethral, or rectal source. It presents in a broad age range and can have an indolent onset, thus requiring a high index of suspicion. It may be fulminant and progressive in the case of immunocompromise and underlying debilitating illnesses. Despite aggressive antibiotic therapy and debridement, it is associated with a high mortality rate. This rate has been higher in older patients, those with a rectal focus, and diabetics. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has shown some promise in shortening hospital stays, increasing wound healing, and decreasing the gangrenous spread when used in conjunction with surgical debridement and antibiotics. New reconstructive efforts, such as medial thigh myocutaneous flaps, have improved the cosmetic aftermath of the extensive debridement. Fournier's gangrene remains a true urologic emergency, which mandates aggressive initial care by means of early recognition, early hemodynamic stabilization, and the institution of parenteral broad-spectrum antibiotics. This is followed by multiple debridements and in some cases urinary or rectal diversion. The concomitant use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in selected cases followed by meticulous reconstructive surgery and salvage has further reduced the mortality rate and improved the cosmetic outcome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gangrene*
  • Genital Diseases, Male / microbiology
  • Genital Diseases, Male / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Perineum / pathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Scrotum / pathology*