Fournier's gangrene: vacuum-assisted closure versus conventional dressings

48 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Fournier's gangrene is a fulminant and destructive inflammation of the scrotum, penis, and perineum. The objective of this study was to compare 2 different approaches to wound management after aggressive surgical debridement. Methods: Data from 35 patients with Fournier's gangrene were prospectively collected (1996-2007). Once the patients were stabilized following surgery, they were treated with either daily antiseptic (polyhexanide) dressings (group I, n = 16) or vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) therapy (group II, n = 19). Results: The mean age of the patients was 58.2 years in group I and 57.2 years in group II. In both groups, the most common predisposing conditions were diabetes mellitus, chronic alcoholism, and obesity. Escherichia coli, streptococcal species, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus were the most frequently isolated organisms. Length of hospital stay was 27.8 days ± 27.6 days (mortality: 37.5%) in group I and 96.8 days ± 77.2 days (mortality: 5.3%) in group II. Enterostomies were performed in 43.8% of group I patients and in 89.5% of group II patients. Conclusions: VAC was associated with significantly longer hospitalization and lower mortality. A partial explanation is that some patients with severe sepsis died within the first 3 days after admission and thus could not undergo vacuum therapy. Since our clinical experience has shown that vacuum dressings are particularly effective in the management of large wounds, we use VAC primarily for this indication despite the considerable material requirements involved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)168-176
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 02.2009

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)


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