Wet Gangrene Symptoms and Treatment

Wet GangreneWet gangrene can develop when bacteria affects the wound or dry gangrene. Some of these bacteria, which live only in an environment without oxygen, create poisons that destroy the surrounding tissues, and the gangrene area is expanding rapidly.

Especially virulent type of dry gangrene, commonly referred to as gas gangrene, causes a certain type of bacteria that are not only spreading rapidly but also producing gas (which smells like rot) in the affected tissues. All such microorganisms, that live without oxygen, thrive in a polluted environment. Therefore, wet gangrene is usually the result of a major injury that is not thoroughly cleansed.


The tissue that is dying creates pain. When it dies, the sensation in the affected area is lost and the tissue turns black. In milder cases, the black area is surrounded by red and swollen tissue, and the pus comes out from the gangrene area. An unpleasant smell can be felt. In severe cases the temperature is elevated, and the gas bubbles can appear in the dead tissue, so the skin and the muscles crack when you press your finger.
If a person does not approach treatment quickly, gas gangrene can cause shock that can quickly end with death of the patient.


Mild forms of wet gangrene can create complications in any case of dry gangrene. Heavier forms are nowadays rare in developed countries, where health care and general hygiene are at a high level.

What to do?

If you are in danger of getting wet gangrene, go to your doctor or hospital immediately. The dirty wound should be carefully cleaned and processed as soon as possible. The doctor recognizes the wet gangrene by sight, touch, and (often) smell, and will immediately receive you into the hospital.


All affected areas must be removed surgically. The patient will receive high doses of antibiotics. Heavy cases are treated with a specially prepared antibodies to suppress bacteria. One of the most modern methods of preventing the further spread of heavy form of wet gangrene is hyperbaric oxygen therapy (oxygen therapy under high pressure). After the removal of the dead tissue, the patient is placed in a special chamber where the oxygen pump is pressurized with high pressure. Oxygen penetrates into the tissue and the remaining bacteria, if there are any, can not survive because they can only live in oxygen-free tissues.