Phlegmon has no clear boundaries and can quickly spread through the subcutaneous fatty tissue, while muscles, tendons, sometimes bones and joints are involved in the process.
Phlegmon develops acutely, is accompanied by a rapid increase in symptoms and, without treatment, can be fatal. In rare cases, chronic phlegmon occurs.
Causes of phlegmon
More often, phlegmon develops as a complication of other purulent diseases: abscess, flux, boil etc.
Sometimes the cause of phlegmon is deep stab wounds (for example, with a rusty nail), bitten and shot wounds, and extensive burns.
An outcome in phlegmon is possible against the background of weakened immunity, in long-term ill people, in people with blood diseases, diabetes mellitus, and so on.
In addition, internal inflammatory processes can be the cause of phlegmon: peritonitis, purulent arthritis, osteomyelitis, etc.
The causative agents of phlegmon can be a variety of microorganisms and fungi, depending on the circumstances of the injury. The disease is especially severe if anaerobic microorganisms are involved in the process. (They don’t need oxygen to live). They produce a large amount of toxins, causing severe intoxication. Such microbes tend to infect deep wounds (stab, bitten, shot).
Phlegmon can be located both superficially, affecting the subcutaneous fatty tissue, and develop in the tissue of internal organs, for example, in the mediastinum, perirenal tissue, and so on.
The development of diffuse inflammation of the subcutaneous adipose tissue is accompanied by general and local signs. The appearance of such symptoms should be a reason for urgent medical attention.
The skin at the site of the lesion turns red, a focus of compaction and edema is formed, which does not have clear boundaries, smoothly turning into healthy tissues. In the infiltrate, foci of softening can be felt. On the surface of the phlegmon, fistulas can form – channels that pus makes on its way, trying to get out.
Phlegmon is sharply painful, leads to dysfunction of the affected part of the body.
Read more: How to treat phlegmon
Treatment and prevention of phlegmon
Any treatment of phlegmon is carried out in a hospital.
Conservative treatment of phlegmon is possible in rare cases at the very initial stage of the process. In this case, antibiotic therapy, immunocorrective therapy, vitamins, anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed. If within a short period of time the effect of the treatment is not observed, patients are shown surgical treatment of the affected area.
With early surgical treatment, it is possible to avoid many complications, reduce the healing time and achieve complete rehabilitation of the patient.
Prevention of phlegmon consists of careful treatment of any skin damage: abrasions, scratches, burnsnot to mention severe wounds.
Even after receiving a minor injury in everyday life, be sure to wash the skin with soapy water in warm running water or a slightly pink solution of potassium permanganate, treat it with an alcohol-containing solution (brilliant green, vodka or medical alcohol), the edges of the wound can be smeared with iodine. If the wound does not heal within the usual timeframe, you should definitely consult a doctor.
Remember that any, even minor damage to the skin can be the cause of the development of tetanus. Extensive and deep wounds and burns must be treated by a doctor. Do not self-medicate, sometimes this leads to serious consequences.