Skin and soft-tissue infections (SSTIs) are common presentations in ambulatory settings. This review describes the varied etiologies and patient presentations of the more common SSTIs: cellulitis, abscesses, and necrotizing soft-tissue infections. A discussion of the common diagnoses masquerading as SSTIs is presented, as well as a stepwise approach to avoiding misdiagnosis. The utility of diagnostic studies such as ultrasound are also discussed. This review also provides an evidence-based analysis of the controversies in management of abscesses, including the commonly utilized techniques of incision and drainage, irrigation, packing, and concurrent antibiotic therapy.
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Keywords: cellulitis, abscess, necrotizing, erysipelas, purulent, MRSA, saltwater, freshwater, dermatitis, gout, cobblestoning, antibiotics, loop drainage
Keith Pochick, MD, FACEP: Editor-in-Chief
Omar Ghazanfar, MD, EBCEM, MSc DM, FlnstLM, CMQ ,MBA; Benjamin Silverberg, MD, MSc, FAAFP, FCUCM
Brad Laymon, PA-C, CPC, CEMC
July 1, 2023