What Are Some Symptoms of Skin Necrosis?

Symptoms of skin necrosis include red skin that is warm to the touch and may include swelling or gas bubbles that develop under the skin, according to Merck Manual. Most patients report feeling very ill with intense pain and high fever.

Skin necrosis occurs when an infection clogs small blood vessels in the affected area, Merck Manual explains. Because blood can’t reach the area, the tissue dies, and vital white blood cells and antibodies can’t control the infection. The disease often spreads rapidly and can result in death without treatment.

Patients experience two types of skin necrosis: skin necrosis, which attacks the connective tissue that covers muscle, and necrotizing cellulitis, which occurs on the outer layers of skin, Merck Manual states. Several specific bacteria cause the infection, but many patients are infected with a combination of germs.

Doctors treat skin necrosis by surgically removing the dead tissue and treating the patient with intraveneous antibiotics, Merck Manual reports. Sometimes doctors need to amputate an arm or a leg to stop the infection. Some physicians also recommend hyperbaric treatment.

Approximately 30 percent of patients with skin necrosis die, Merck Manual warns. Advanced age, other health conditions and waiting until the infection has reached an advanced stage before undergoing treatment are factors that put patients at greater risk for death.