Fournier's scrotal gangrene
Last edited 03/2019 and last reviewed 10/2020
Fourniere's Gangrene is a soft tissue infection of the perineum and strictly, the genitalia. Described by Jean-Alfred Fourniere in 1883, It is a localised form of soft tissue necrotising fasciitis.
Fournier's gangrene is a fulminant necrotizing fasciitis of the external genitalia, scrotum, or perineal area (1,2)
- men are affected exceedingly more than women, and the majority of patients
suffer from multiple health comorbidities including obesity, diabetes, and
- men are more often affected than women, with a ratio of 10:1, and the disease can affect people of all ages (mean age, 50 years) (3)
- incidence of the disease is estimated at 1.6 men per 100 000. Mortality
rate remains high at 20% to 40% despite improvements in medical care (3)
- clinical findings include fever, pain and swelling, erythema or dark discoloration,
discharge from the wound, induration, and crepitus of the affected area
- key component in accurate diagnosis is imaging with CT being the study of
choice by some (2) - important findings include fascial thickness and subcutaneous
- a delay of even a few hours from suspicion of Fournier gangrene to surgical debridement significantly increases the risk of death (4)
- differential diagnosis of Fournier gangrene includes scrotal and perineal
disorders, as well as intra-abdominal disorders such as cellulitis, abscess,
strangulated hernia, pyoderma gangrenosum, allergic vasculitis, vascular
occlusion syndromes, and warfarin necrosis
- pathogenesis is usually bacterial and the most common organisms identified
include Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacteroides
fragilis, Streptococcus species, and Clostridium species
- if Fournier's gangrene is suspected then urgent secondary care management
is indicated - urgently start treatment (including antibiotics and surgical
debridement as required)
- treatment is broad-spectrum antibiotics and adequate surgical debridement - commonly used antibiotic regimens for Fournier's gangrene include a second- or third-generation cephalosporin, fluoroquinolones or gentamicin, and clindamycin; metronidazole may also be included in the regime as coverage for anaerobic bacteria
- once infection is cleared, later reconstruction of soft tissues may be required
- Chernyadyev S. et al. Fournier's Gangrene: Literature Review and Clinical Cases. Urologia Internationalis. 2018;101(1):91-97.
- Chennamsetty A. et al. Contemporary diagnosis and management of Fournier's gangrene. Therapeutic Advances in Urology. 2015;7(4):203-215.
- Semenic D, Kolar P.Fournier's Gangrene Does Not Spare Young Adults.Wounds. 2018 Jul;30(7):E73-E76
- Singh A et al. Fournier's gangrene. A clinical review. Arch Ital Urol Androl 2016; 88(3):157-164.