Necrotizing fasciitis of the face

Laryngoscope. 1997 Aug;107(8):1071-9. doi: 10.1097/00005537-199708000-00013.


Necrotizing fasciitis (NF) is a rapidly progressive soft tissue infection with high morbidity and mortality rates. Its occurrence in the head and neck region is uncommon, the majority of reported cases being limited to involvement of the neck, usually from infections of dental or pharyngeal origin. Involvement of the face from NF is rare; only 35 such cases have been reported in the literature since 1960. It is not only associated with a high mortality but can also result in severe disfigurement of the face, posing challenging reconstructive problems. Successful management of facial NF requires early diagnosis, prompt institution of broad spectrum antibiotics, aggressive surgical debridement to control the infection, and reconstruction of the resultant soft tissue defects. This report describes four additional cases of facial necrotizing fasciitis. One of the four patients died as a result of sepsis and multi-organ system failure. Two of the three surviving patients had significant facial disfigurement. A comprehensive review of the facial NF cases reported in the literature is also provided. Based on our experience with facial NF and the results of all previous case reports, the clinical manifestations, pathogenesis, and management of this disease are discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Face
  • Facial Injuries / complications
  • Fasciitis, Necrotizing* / diagnosis
  • Fasciitis, Necrotizing* / etiology
  • Fasciitis, Necrotizing* / therapy
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged