Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 577–589 | Cite as

Necrotizing fasciitis: an urgent diagnosis

  • Silvia Paz Maya
  • Delfina Dualde Beltrán
  • Pierre Lemercier
  • Carlos Leiva-Salinas
Review Article


Necrotizing fasciitis (NF) is a rare, life-threatening soft-tissue infection and a medical and surgical emergency, with increasing incidence in the last few years. It is characterized by a rapidly spreading, progressive necrosis of the deep fascia and subcutaneous tissue. Necrotizing fasciitis is often underestimated because of the lack of specific clinical findings in the initial stages of the disease. Many adjuncts such as laboratory findings, bedside tests—e.g., the “finger test” or biopsy—and imaging tests have been described as being helpful in the early recognition of the disease. Imaging is very useful to confirm the diagnosis, but also to assess the extent of the disorder, the potential surgical planning, and the detection of underlying etiologies. The presence of gas within the necrotized fasciae is characteristic, but may be lacking. The main finding is thickening of the deep fasciae due to fluid accumulation and reactive hyperemia, best seen on magnetic resonance imaging.


Necrotizing fasciitis Radiology Soft tissue infection 


Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© ISS 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Silvia Paz Maya
    • 1
  • Delfina Dualde Beltrán
    • 2
  • Pierre Lemercier
    • 3
  • Carlos Leiva-Salinas
    • 3
  1. 1.Hospital Clínico Universitario de ValenciaValenciaSpain
  2. 2.Hospital Clínico Universitario de ValenciaValenciaSpain
  3. 3.Hospital Politécnico y Universitario La FeValenciaSpain

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