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Diagnosis and treatment of necrotizing fasciitis in the head and neck region

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59 - 67
Number of pages9
JournalOral & Maxillofacial Surgery Clinics of North America
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003

King's Authors


Necrotizing fasciitis is a dramatic but rare disease. In the head and neck it often strikes unexpectedly. Early diagnosis and radical treatment are important to maximize the chances of a good outcome. The outcome depends on the clinician having a high threshold of suspicion when rapidly progressive local and systemic symptoms appear in the presence of what was initially an apparently innocuous wound. Diagnosis is achieved principally by inspection and manual examination during explorative surgery but can be supported by frozen section examination. Treatment is mainly surgical, helped by general measures of support to combat the systemic effects of circulating toxins. The key to success is captured in a line by Shakespeare in Macbeth: 'Be bloody, bold and resolute'

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