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July 1996

Value of Fine-needle Aspiration in Infectious Cellulitis

Author Affiliations

Créteil, France

Boulogne, France

Department of Internal Medicine Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière 47/83 Blvd de l'Hôpital, 75013 Paris, France

Arch Dermatol. 1996;132(7):842-843. doi:10.1001/archderm.1996.03890310134030

The bacteriologic diagnosis of infectious cellulitis may be crucial, especially in the necrotizing forms, allowing an early adjustment of antibiotic therapy before the results of surgical swab specimens are obtained. Various methods have been published, but the issue still remains controversial.1 To evaluate the bacteriologic value of fine-needle aspiration in cellulitis, we retrospectively studied 78 adult patients, including 15 patients presenting with necrotizing surgically treated cellulitis, 56 patients presenting with nonnecrotizing medically treated cellulitis, and 7 patients in whom cellulitis was complicated by abscesses.

Methods.  A standardized aspiration technique was performed in all patients according to previously described procedures.2,3 The site of aspiration, usually the center of an inflammatory lesion, was cleansed with povidoneiodine solution (Betadine). The skin over the area was punctured, without prior anesthesia, with a 22-gauge needle attached to a plastic disposable syringe; the contents of the syringe, previously filled with 1 mL of sterile

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