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Invited Commentary
August 1998

Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infection Masquerading as Cutaneous Abscess Following Illicit Drug Injection—Invited Commentary

Arch Surg. 1998;133(8):819. doi:10.1001/archsurg.133.8.819

Callahan and colleagues describe a group of 30 patients seen during 5 years at San Francisco General Hospital with NSTI from illicit drug injections. This small, but remarkable, subgroup of 3560 patients with cutaneous abscesses from illicit drug injection experienced a 20% mortality. The authors, having sought clinical clues to differentiate patients with NSTI from those with simple cutaneous abscesses, concluded that a high index of suspicion and an inquisitive operative approach were necessary to avoid missing these serious infections.

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