Imaging Studies

• Imaging studies may identify abscess formation, gas in the soft tissues, or osteomyelitis

With early diagnosis and appropriate therapy, the prognoses for cellulitis and erysipelas are excellent. Severe or repeated episodes can cause lymphedema. Rare complications include the spread of infection to deeper skin and soft tissue layers, bacteremia and sepsis.1 If the circumference of an extremity is cellulitic, compartment syndrome becomes a concern, and a surgical consult may be required. Recurrent cellulitis can be problematic. About 30% of patients hospitalized with cellulitis will develop a recurrent episode within 3 years. Vascular and lymphatic insufficiencies increase the risk of recurrences.14,16

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