Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Orthopedic Teaching

Soft Tissue Case 1 Diagnosis

Necrotizing Fasciitis


Diagnosis

Subcutaneous emphysemafrom the gas-forming organisms is the classic radiographic finding, but is not universal.

If the diagnosis is still suspected, CT scanning will demonstrate asymmetric fascial thickening and gas in the tissues while MRI T1 images will show a lack of contrast enhancement in areas of fascial necrosis.

Gram stains and biopsy are important diagnostic tools, but have limited utility in the ED.