Cellulitis and Soft Tissue Infections

Ann Intern Med. 2018 Feb 6;168(3):ITC17-ITC32. doi: 10.7326/AITC201802060.


Cellulitis and soft tissue infections are a diverse group of diseases that range from uncomplicated cellulitis to necrotizing fasciitis. Management of predisposing conditions is the primary means of prevention. Cellulitis is a clinical diagnosis and thus is made on the basis of history and physical examination. Imaging may be helpful for characterizing purulent soft tissue infections and associated osteomyelitis. Treatment varies according to the type of infection. The foundations of treatment are drainage of purulence and antibiotics, the latter targeted at the infection's most likely cause.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bites and Stings / complications
  • Bites and Stings / microbiology
  • Cellulitis / diagnosis*
  • Cellulitis / microbiology
  • Cellulitis / prevention & control*
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Medical History Taking
  • Physical Examination
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Soft Tissue Infections / diagnosis*
  • Soft Tissue Infections / microbiology
  • Soft Tissue Infections / prevention & control*
  • Surgical Wound Infection / diagnosis
  • Surgical Wound Infection / microbiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents