Author(s): Kronish JW, McLeish WM
Necrotizing fasciitis is an uncommon and severe soft tissue infection characterized by cutaneous gangrene, suppurative fasciitis, and vascular thrombosis. The disease is usually preceded by trauma in patients that have systemic problems, most commonly diabetes and alcoholism. Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus are the most frequent bacterial etiologies; however, combinations of numerous facultative and anaerobic organisms have also been isolated. Involvement of the face and periocular region is rare. A case is presented here, as well as a review of the clinical features of 15 other patients previously described, in whom eyelid necrosis due to periorbital necrotizing fasciitis developed. Early surgical debridement and drainage of necrotic tissues and appropriate parenteral antibiotics are the mainstay of therapy. The mortality rate in patients with periorbital spread was 12.5%, with the prognosis known to be adversely affected by delay in diagnosis and treatment and/or extension of infection from the face to the neck. Reconstruction of the eyelids with skin grafts was necessary in most cases to avoid such complications as cicatricial lid retraction, lid malpositions, and lagophthalmos.