What is it?
Cellulitis is an infection that can occur anywhere in the body and the hand and wrist are no exception. It appears as inflammation or redness of the skin but is actually an inflammation of the subcutaneous tissues. Often the cause is as a result of minor trauma such as a scratch or abrasion. This in essence creates an open wound for which infection can set in.
What is the natural history?
Often the body can mount a response to very mild cellulitis but if left untreated cellulitis can spread. More aggressive causes of cellulitis spread quickly and can make you very unwell.
What is the treatment?
Treatment aims to stop the spread of the infection and is predominantly with antibiotics. In more severe infections, the antibiotics need to be given via a drip line in hospital. In some cases an abscess can develop and this may require surgical intervention to drain it.
What is the prognosis?
The vast majority of patients respond well to treatment and have little functional problems following this.
© Fife Virtual Hand Clinic 2021