What is gangrene?

Gangrene is death and decay of body tissue. It happens when tissues, such as skin and muscle, don't get enough blood. For example, blood may not be able to reach an arm, leg or other part of the body due to an injury or disease. People at risk for gangrene include those who have had an injury or surgery, people with diabetes or blood vessel disease, and people with weak immune systems. Symptoms include loss of feeling in the dying tissue, blue, black or reddish skin, and a foul-smelling discharge. Treatment usually includes removing the dead tissue. Sometimes, amputation is needed. Antibiotics and hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be used to fight infection and raise the amount of oxygen in the blood respectively.

Continue Learning about Skin Injury

Can You Make Scars Go Away?
Can You Make Scars Go Away?
Whether it’s the result of a minor kitchen mishap or a more serious accident, almost everyone has at least a scar or two. But while some injuries seem...
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Can skin injuries be prevented?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
The best way to prevent a skin injury is to take extraordinary care when you are performing tasks th...
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What are signs of a skin infection?
American Red CrossAmerican Red Cross
You usually will be able to recognize the early signs of infection. The area around the wound be...
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Why does an incision heal faster than a laceration?
National Athletic Trainers' AssociationNational Athletic Trainers' Association
An incision heals faster than a laceration because straight edges create less surface area to re...
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.