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May 1976

Phycomycotic Gangrenous Cellulitis: A Report of Two Cases and a Review of the Literature

Author Affiliations

From the Public Health Service (Dr Wilson), Department of Infectious Diseases, Sydney Farber Cancer Center (Dr Siber), Harvard Medical School at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (Drs Siber, O'Brien, Morgan), Boston.

Arch Surg. 1976;111(5):532-538. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1976.01360230032005

• Progressive gangrenous cellulitis due to Rhizopus arrhizus following colostomy destroyed the entire abdominal wall of a young woman and caused her death. A similar infection in an 11-year-old kidney transplant recipient was diagnosed more promptly and treated successfully with extensive debridement and amphotericin B. Nine similar cases found in the literature were reviewed. All 11 patients appeared to have had prior tissue injury at the original site of infection, and seven had diabetes mellitus. The disease was initially misdiagnosed in most of the patients, progressed rapidly in eight, and was fatal in four. Phycomycotic gangrenous cellulitis should be included in the differential diagnosis of progressive necrotizing lesions of the skin, especially in diabetic patients, but it can be identified promptly only by histologic examination of the infected tissue. Urgent radical excision and amphotericin therapy are recommended.

(Arch Surg 111:532-538, 1976)