Cellulitis: analysis of 101 cases and review of the literature

South Med J. 1981 May;74(5):530-3.


A retrospective study of 101 patients with cellulitis of the head and neck and extremities showed that cellulitis, predominantly a disease of males, occurred at all ages; the lower extremities were affected more frequently in the elderly, whereas upper extremity involvement prevailed in young adults. A clinical prodrome, most often including chills, was less common than is widely believed. Redness, heat, swelling, and tenderness were consistently present, and lymphangitis and lymphadenitis were less frequent. Fever was generally mild, and WBC counts were modestly elevated, if at all. Because needle aspirates and blood cultures were rarely helpful, delineation of specific cause was difficult. Therapy included rest, elevation, moist heat, analgesia, antibiotics (usually penicillinase-resistant penicillin or penicillin itself), and incision and drainage when indicated. Most patients improved rapidly. Prolonged course and complications were unusual and there were no deaths.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cellulitis / diagnosis
  • Cellulitis / etiology
  • Cellulitis / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Haemophilus influenzae / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Staphylococcus / isolation & purification
  • Streptococcus / isolation & purification