What is Skin Necrosis and Can I Prevent It? (2024)

Skin necrosis can be scary if you are experiencing it for the first time. What is skin necrosis? And how does it occur? Better yet, how can you prevent necrosis from happening in the first place?

What is skin necrosis?

When blood and oxygen are limited to a specific area of the body, the tissue often dies. Known as necrosis, tissue death can occur from an injury, trauma, radiation treatment, or toxin and chemical exposure. After necrosis occurs, DNA structure damage occurs within the cells, preventing mitosis–the process of healthy and normal cell duplication.

What does skin necrosis look like?

There are two main types of necrotic tissue present in wounds. One is a dry, thick, leathery tissue usually a tan, brown, or black color. The other is often yellow, tan, green, or brown and might be moist, loose, and stringy in appearance. Necrotic tissue will eventually become black, hard, and leathery.

What is Skin Necrosis and Can I Prevent It? (1)

When large areas of tissue become necrotic, this is known as gangrene. Gangrene is death of body tissue due to a lack of blood flow or a serious bacterial infection that requires urgent care.

Can I prevent skin necrosis?

Is there a way to prevent necrosis from occurring in the first place? Some basic first steps to help include:

  • Nursing any wound carefully
  • Keeping the wound clean
  • Washing your hands frequently
  • Changing bandages regularly
  • Following your doctor or wound care specialists’ instructions in caring for the wound

Sometimes, though, necrosis happens despite usingwound care treatmentsand following all doctor’s instructions. This is often due tounderlying conditionsand other health issues.

If you believe your wound may have necrotic tissue, we can help.

What treatment do I need for necrosis?

Necrosis can lead to increased pain and leave the affected skin vulnerable to further damage and recurring injury. Since necrotic tissue can also harbor pathogenic organisms, it can lead to infection if left unchecked. As a result, it is often necessary for the dead tissue to be removed before proper healing can begin. The process of removing necrotic (dead) tissue is known as debridement. Wound care specialists are trained in removing necrotic tissue. Once removed, advanced wound care treatments may be prescribed to continue the healing process for your road to recovery.

How HBOT therapy can help prevent necrosis

One such advanced wound care treatment is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). Tissue prone to or affected by necrosis needs increased oxygen to heal correctly. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (or hyperbaric oxygen treatment) involves exposing the body to 100% oxygen at greater than normal pressure. This therapy helps to speed up the healing of surgical wounds and prevent complications such as necrosis. Studies have shown that by increasing oxygenation, oxygen-deficient tissue is given life again.

For more information regarding your specific wound, please contact us to schedule a visit to your R3 Wound Care & Hyperbarics nearest location. We have locations in the Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Houston areas of Texas. Our wound care specialists at the clinic will assess your condition and then recommend the right treatment plan for you.

Contact Us Today

To find out how specialized wound care can benefit you, schedule an evaluation with one of our expert wound care specialists.

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What is Skin Necrosis and Can I Prevent It? (2024)


What is Skin Necrosis and Can I Prevent It? ›

Skin necrosis (gangrene) occurs when blood flow to your body tissues or internal organs is blocked. It can also occur due to a bacterial infection. It most commonly affects your fingers, toes, hands and feet but can affect any part of your body.

How can necrosis of the skin be prevented? ›

To reduce your risk of bacterial skin infections, including necrotizing fasciitis, from developing: Try to avoid cuts, burns, scratches or bug bites. If you do have some type of wound, make sure to clean it with soap and water and then cover it with a clean bandage till it heals.

How do you get rid of necrosis on your skin? ›

How is a necrotizing soft tissue infection treated?
  1. Removal of the infected tissue. This is to prevent the spread of the infection. ...
  2. Antibiotics. These medicines fight the infection at its source and help to reduce effects of the infection on the rest of the body.
  3. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy. ...
  4. Tetanus vaccine.

Can necrosis be stopped? ›

Treatment can slow the progress of avascular necrosis, but there is no cure. Most people who have avascular necrosis eventually have surgery, including joint replacement. People who have avascular necrosis can also develop severe osteoarthritis.

What is the meaning of skin necrosis? ›

Necrosis is the death of body tissue. It occurs when too little blood flows to the tissue. This can be from injury, radiation, or chemicals. Necrosis cannot be reversed. When large areas of tissue die due to a lack of blood supply, the condition is called gangrene.

What stops necrosis? ›

Treatment of necrosis typically involves two distinct steps. The underlying cause of the necrosis in wounds must be treated before the dead tissue itself can be dealt with. This can mean anything from administering antibiotics or antivenom to relieving pressure on the wound area to restore perfusion.

Can skin necrosis heal on its own? ›

While some cases of necrosis may heal on their own, it's important to see a healthcare provider if you develop any symptoms of necrosis. Some types of necrosis require immediate treatment. A healthcare provider can diagnose your necrosis and recommend the appropriate treatment.

What triggers necrosis? ›

Blood clots and blood vessel damage are just two of the many causes that can trigger necrosis. Injuries, infections, chronic diseases, and toxins that block blood flow to an area can cause necrotic tissue to form in that area.

Can you reverse skin necrosis? ›

Currently, there are no widely accepted treatment protocols to treat the necrotic aftermath of vascular compromise from dermal filler injections.

How long does skin necrosis take to heal? ›

Depending on the extent of necrosis, healing may take months. The main causes of necrosis are extravasation of the sclerosant into subcutaneous tissue, inadvertent injection into an arteriole, and vasospasm.

How to reverse necrosis? ›

There is no cure for avascular necrosis, but if it's diagnosed early using X-rays or MRI, nonsurgical treatments such as activity modification, anti-inflammatory medications, injections, and physical therapy may slow its progression. Because avascular necrosis is a progressive condition, it often requires surgery.

What are the first signs of necrosis? ›

The infection often spreads very quickly. Early symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis can include: A red, warm, or swollen area of skin that spreads quickly. Severe pain, including pain beyond the area of the skin that is red, warm, or swollen.

How fast does necrosis spread? ›

The infection can spread rapidly within hours; hence suspicion should be high for necrotizing fasciitis in the presence of intense pain.

What does skin necrosis look like? ›

One is a dry, thick, leathery tissue usually a tan, brown, or black color. The other is often yellow, tan, green, or brown and might be moist, loose, and stringy in appearance. Necrotic tissue will eventually become black, hard, and leathery. When large areas of tissue become necrotic, this is known as gangrene.

How to remove necrotic tissue at home? ›

This involves applying moist-to-dry dressings onto the wound site. When peeled off, the necrotic tissue attached to the dressings is removed.

How painful is skin necrosis? ›

Necrosis of the tissues and fascia may manifest as erythema without sharp margins, swelling, warmth, shiny, and exquisitely tender areas. Pain out of proportion to physical examination findings may be observed.

Can necrosis be controlled? ›

Biochemistry (Mosc). 2002 Apr;67(4):387-408.


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