[Skip to Navigation]
April 1987

Acute Cellulitis

Author Affiliations

The Johns Hopkins Hospital Blalock 11-11 600 N Wolfe St Baltimore, MD 21205

Arch Dermatol. 1987;123(4):460-461. doi:10.1001/archderm.1987.01660280062023

Cellulitis is a common cutaneous process that may bring patients to the attention of dermatologists, internists, family practitioners, or nearly any other category of medical practitioner. Between 1969 and 1981 the definition of cellulitis in Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary evolved from "inflammation of cellular tissue" to "diffuse inflammation of the soft or connective tissue due to infection, in which a thin, watery exudate spreads through the cleavage planes of interstitial and tissue spaces,"1,2 suggesting that in the interval significant new knowledge about the process had become available. This was not the case.

Clinically, cellulitis tends to present with some combination of cutaneous erythema, warmth, edema, or pain. Many texts generally attribute cellulitis to infection with either β-hemolytic streptococci, Staphylococcus aureus, or a combination of the two. Included within the general category of "cellulitis" is classic erysipelas, which differs from the remainder of cellulitis in that lymphatic involvement ("streaking") is

Add or change institution