Cellulitis is a bacterial infection introduced through an opening in the skin that can become life threatening. Amputation of the infected limb may be necessary if the infection does not respond to antibiotics and the deep tissue necrotizes or dies.
Cellulitis is caused by bacteria, such as streptococcus or staphylococcus, entering the skin thru an injury, spider bite, recent surgery, cut, or even athlete’s foot. If the bacteria is MRSA or Methicillan Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, the bacteria becomes even more dangerous as many antibiotics have become inadequate to treat the infection. Infections can spread from the wound to your heart, which is life threatening.
Symptoms of cellulitis in the beginning stages are red, swollen, and slightly painful skin infection. Over time the area gets larger and more swollen. Cellulitis needs to be treated with antibiotics prescribed by your doctor as soon as possible.
Any skin infection can develop into cellulitis, however some people are more at risk for complications because of a low immune system or poor circulation, such as people with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems or HIV/AIDs. The most common location of cellulitis is the legs and feet due to poor circulation and more incidence of injury.
When the infection will not heal and turns black and gets larger this may mean it has turned into necrotizing flesh-eating cellulitis. Other symptoms of cellulitis may be, extremely painful skin, foul odor, redness, fever and pus. Amputation may be recommended to save your life.
If the cellulitis infection has become life threatening your doctor will need to do an amputation of the limb. Your doctor will remove as little of the limb as possible trying to preserve as much healthy skin, tissue, blood vessels and nerves tissue as he can. You will be put to sleep with anesthesia during the surgery so you do not feel anything. Your surgery wound should heal in approximately 4 to 8 weeks.