What is Gangrene?
Gangrene refers to a certain area of tissue dying in the body as a result of poor blood flow or bacterial infection. It is common for most people to have a considerable amount of their tissues die but gangrene occurs when cells do not replenish themselves. Gangrene usually starts with a small area. This causes the skin to look boiled and dying. The tissues begins to die when a poor blood circulation takes place in the body. Venous diseases such as spider veins and varicose veins may be symptoms of poor blood circulation. Gangrene is a serious issue which may require amputation in later stages, thus getting help as soon as possible can help prevent amputation and stop the gangrene from deteriorating too quickly.
What causes Gangrene in the body?
The main cause of gangrene is when there is a reduced amount of blood supply to the affected tissue. Each cell in the body needs oxygen and nutrition, and when the body does not get enough blood circulation, there is insufficient oxygen to keep your tissues alive. Patients with venous diseases such as chronic venous insufficiency and deep vein thrombosis and arterial diseases such as atherosclerosis that affects the blood circulation are at higher risk of developing dry gangrene. When blood supply is limited, new cells are unable to grow, leading the body to die out. Once the blood circulation stops moving around in the body, you will find that gangrene has taken place and disrupts the body functions. Wet gangrene occurs when there is bacterial infection in the affected tissues. Age and diabetes increase the risks of developing gangrene as gangrene often develops from leg ulcers.
Symptoms of Gangrene
One of the most common symptoms of dry gangrene is skin discolouration throughout your affected tissue, ranging from blue, purple, black or red, depending on the type of gangrene you have. Another symptom to notice is when the affected area becomes cold or quite numb. This happens quite often before anything dangerous begins to swell. Feeling pain is another aspect that some people tend to ignore, but it can be very serious and something you need to take care of as soon as possible. A pungent smelling discharge leaking from a sore is also a common symptom of gangrene.
Diagnosis of Gangrene
To get a good diagnosis of whether you have a certain type of gangrene, you need to get medical attention. Blood tests, surgery, or tissue culture research are often used in order to see if this is something you are currently dealing with. For dry gangrene, vascular surgeons often do angiograms , a test with dye that shows blood flow in arteries to evaluate the extent of arterial blood loss to the tissue. The key to curing gangrene is to diagnose as soon as possible when a patient shows symptoms of gangrene.
Treatments of Gangrene
While tissues that has been damaged by gangrene cannot be saved, there are a wide range of different gangrene treatments available that you can use to prevent gangrene from deteriorating. Antibiotics given through a vein is a simple form of treatment to help fight the dangers and infections that you experience from gangrene.
Surgery may be necessary to stop gangrene from deteriorating and spreading to other parts of the body. If possible, your vascular surgeon may do endovascular repairs (EVAR) on damaged or diseased blood vessels. In severe cases, amputation may be necessary. Gangrene is a difficult tissue condition to deal with that will take time to recover and the affected skin may never fully recover. If you suspect that you have gangrene, it is recommended that you seek medical attention from vascular doctors as soon as possible to prevent amputations.
Find out more about Gangrene and Treatment options
Our doctor regularly conducts free public educational forums about Gangrene and Diabetes Management at his clinic. Contact us now if you will like to be informed about the next forum or make an appointment with our doctor for a consultation
Why choose Gangrene treatments by our doctor?
Being among the few vascular and endovascular trained surgeons in Singapore, our doctor can provide comprehensive services from diagnosis to treatment. Our clinic always adopts the latest minimally invasive technology to reduce the recovery of our patients. As gangrene is often a result of poor blood circulation, our doctor will determine if any underlying venous diseases or arterial diseases. Having the ability to provide a comprehensive service, our doctor will be able to prescribe a customised treatment for you that is best suited for your body and preferences.