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Necrotizing Fasciitis


Necrotizing fasciitis is a rare bacterial infection that spreads quickly and destroys skin, fat, and muscle. It is also known as flesh-eating bacteria. Necrotizing fasciitis is a life-threatening infection that must be treated immediately.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


You may be placed in isolation to protect you from other germs. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely.


You will receive nutritional support with extra protein and calories to help wound healing.

IV fluids:

You may need an IV to give you extra fluids so you stay hydrated and to prevent organ failure. An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or fluids.


  • Antibiotics help treat your infection.
  • IV immunoglobulin may be given to help your immune system fight your infection.
  • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
  • Muscle relaxers may be given to decrease pain and muscle spasms.
  • Antianxiety medicine may be given to decrease pain and anxiety.


  • Blood tests are done to check for signs of infection and inflammation.
  • A tissue culture of your wound is done to find the type of bacteria that is causing your infection.
  • An x-ray, CT scan, or MRI may help show where the infection has spread. You may be given contrast liquid to help the pictures show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.


  • Surgery will be needed to remove dead tissue and help prevent the spread of your infection. You may need surgery to relieve pressure, or a skin graft to reconstruct the infection site. Limb amputation may be needed to save your life.
  • Hyperbaric therapy may be used to decrease swelling and increase wound healing.
  • Wound vacuum therapy may be used to help stop bacteria from spreading and increase wound healing.

Physical therapy (PT):

You may need physical therapy to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain. PT also helps to promote blood flow and prevent clots.


Even with treatment necrotizing fasciitis can be disfiguring and cause emotional distress. You may need more than one surgery to prevent the spread of your infection. You may need limb amputation to save your life. The infection can spread throughout your body, cause organ failure, and become life-threatening.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.