Can Cellulitis Lead to Amputation

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection caused by streptococcus and staphylococcus bacteria. The bacterium enters the skin through an open wound or cuts. If not addressed at a right time with the correct treatment, cellulitis can actually be life-threatening. Sometimes it complicates to necrotize the deep tissues and can result in amputation of the affected limb.

Can Cellulitis Lead to Amputation

Symptoms of Cellulitis

Cellulitis is most common in the lower legs but can also occur in other parts of the body such as the face, hand, and mouth. The symptoms presented by the patient suffering from cellulitis are:

  • Redness of the area of infection
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Blistering above the infection
  • Pus formation
  • Pain and soreness of the affected area

Symptoms of a complicated cellulitis infection are:

These can signal that the cellulitis is spreading and the patient needs to consult a physician to avoid further complications.

What is Deep Tissue Necrosis?

When cellulitis does not heal, the tissues of the infected area die and turn black. This means it has turned into necrotizing flesh eating cellulitis, as it may expand. Amputation is recommended in such cases.

Factors That Can Lead to Amputation in Cellulitis:

The deep tissue necrosis is a major complication of cellulitis, as it can result in limb amputation. There few health conditions which can complicate this disease condition,

Poor Immune System: This is a condition in which the body’s defence mechanism is weak. Hence the fight against any disease is low. It results in poor healing of the cellulitis, thus further leading to deep tissue necrosis.

High Blood Pressure Or Hypertension: High blood pressure impairs blood circulation and thus leads to less oxygen supply, which is necessary for wound healing. This condition, therefore, becomes one factor to delay or inhibit healing of cellulitis.

Diabetes: High sugar level of blood makes a favorable medium for the bacterial growth. Peripheral artery disease is also a risk factor in diabetic, which impairs the blood flow to the extremities. This results in a delay in wound healing or increases the chances of amputation due to deep layer necrosis.

HIV/AIDS: People suffering from HIV disease or AIDS have a very weak immune system. Recovery from any kind of disease is very difficult and so is healing of any skin disease.

Treatment of Cellulitis

If the cellulitis is not improving and the necrosis is expanding the doctor recommends amputation of that dead part. This will stop the necrosis from spreading.

The procedure involves removing as little of the limb as possible to preserve the healthy skin tissue, blood vessels, and the nerve tissue. The amputation is performed under anesthesia. The wound takes 4-8 weeks time to heal. The patient is advised to take all the medication of other diseases as well as the antibiotics regularly.

Cellulitis can be dangerous, therefore prompt treatment with antibiotics and knowledge of the symptoms of complication and about the diseases listed in the risk factors is very important.

Amputation of a part or of the whole limb is a major thing, and it can be avoided just by keeping yourself updated about your body.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 3, 2019

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