What are the Types of Gangrene?
Death of the tissue resulting from loss of blood supply is known as Gangrene. There are two main types of gangrene: 1) Dry Gangrene and 2) Wet Gangrene. For a more detailed description, please read on below.
Dry Gangrene is commonly seen in people suffering from blood vessel diseases, autoimmune diseases and diabetes. Dry gangrene often affects the hands and feet. Dry gangrene develops due to impaired blood flow to the affected region, usually caused by poor blood circulation. In dry gangrene, the color of skin turns into brown to purplish-blue to black and the tissue dries and shrivels up and subsequently falls off. In dry gangrene there is no infection. However, if the dry gangrene becomes infected then it can lead to wet gangrene. With treatment, recovery from dry gangrene can be easily achieved.
Contrary to dry gangrene, wet gangrene commonly involves an infection. Wet gangrene occurs as a result of injury from trauma or burns where there is constriction of a body part which can rapidly cut off blood circulation to the involved region resulting in tissue death and increased risk of infection. In wet gangrene, there is swelling and blistering of the tissue and pus discharge, which is why it is called as wet gangrene. Infection occurring from wet gangrene may spread quickly all over the body, hence making wet gangrene an extremely serious and life-threatening condition which requires immediate medical treatment.
Types of Wet Gangrene
In this type of wet gangrene, the gangrene develops inside the body as a result of blocked blood flow to an internal organ which is then known as internal gangrene. Internal Gangrene is often associated to an infected organ such as the colon or appendix.
This type of wet gangrene is rare but fatal. Gas Gangrene occurs when there is development of infection deep inside the body, such as inside the organs or muscles often occurring due to trauma. The cause of gas gangrene is bacteria known as clostridia, which releases dangerous poisons/toxins which cause destruction throughout the body. This bacterium also produces gas which may get trapped inside the body tissue; hence, the name gas gangrene. As the gas gangrene worsens, the skin changes to pale and gray in color and when the skin is pressed upon, a crackling sound can be heard due to the gas present inside the tissue. Gas gangrene is a medical emergency and warrants prompt medical treatment. If left untreated, patient can die within 48 hours.
Fournier’s gangrene is also a rare type of wet gangrene where the gangrene occurs as a result of infection in the genital region. Fournier’s gangrene affects men more than women. If the infection from Fournier’s gangrene spreads into blood, then it results in sepsis which is a life-threatening condition and needs immediate medical attention.