Necrotizing Fasciitis: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 8/3/2021

Necrotizing fasciitis is a rapidly spreading infection of tissues beneath the skin, usually located in fascial planes of connective tissue. Fascial planes are bands of connective tissue that surround the muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. The infection is severe and results in tissue death (necrosis).

Signs and symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis include a

  • red, warm, or swollen area of skin that spreads quickly, and
  • severe pain, including pain beyond the area of the skin that is red, warm, or swollen.

Fever and chills may be associated with the infection as it spreads. Later signs and symptoms can include

The infection may spread throughout the body and can be fatal if untreated.

Causes of necrotizing fasciitis

Necrotizing fasciitis is caused by different types of bacterial infection, with many cases historically caused by group A beta-hemolytic streptococci (GAS or Streptococcus pyogenes). Most cases begin with an existing infection.

Other necrotizing fasciitis symptoms and signs

  • Blackened Scars
  • Chills
  • Drainage of Pus
  • Fever
  • Gas Formation Beneath the Skin
  • 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
  • Shock
  • Skin Ulceration or Discoloration


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.