Background and aim

Fournier’s gangrene (FG) is a fulminant infection in the external genital region and perineum. The present study explored the clinical features of FG originating from the anorectal region, from primary conditions such as anal fistulas and abscesses.

Methods

A retrospective analysis was performed in order to identify the factors associated with clinical outcomes in FG patients derived from two hospitals—the Sixth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University and People’s Hospital Affiliated to Fujian University of Traditional Chinese—over the period from May 2013 to April 2017.

Results

Sixty FG patients were included in this study. The common causative microorganisms cultured were Escherichia coli species. Genital and perirectal regional involvement was evident in 52 and 59 cases, respectively, although the perineum was unaffected in 7 cases (12%), as confirmed by imaging examination and surgical exploration. Management with early radical debridement and broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy is effective with an acceptably sepsis mortality (1.7%). Ten patients underwent protective colostomy. No patient underwent an orchidectomy and required urinary diversion.

Conclusions

FG originating from the anorectal region can be rapidly progressive and life-threatening. Infection can spread superiorly to the genital region without the involvement in perineal tissue. An aggressive surgical debridement of non-viable tissue is essential for satisfactory outcomes and a protective colostomy is not mandatory.

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