Gangrene

Gangrene is the death and subsequent decay of body tissues caused by infection, also known as tissue necrosis. It is most commonly the result of critically insufficient blood supply sometimes caused by an injury and subsequent contamination of the wound with bacteria. This condition is most common in the extremities.

One specific example of gangrene is so called diabetic foot that can be seen in long-standing complicated diabetes. It is caused by a combination of arterial ischemia, injury and poor healing that is rather common in diabetics.

The most common medical treatment for irreversible gangrene is amputation.

In the years before antibiotics, fly maggots were commonly used to treat wounds to prevent or stop gangrene, as they would only consume dead flesh. Their use largely died out after the introduction of antibiotics. In recent years, however, maggot treatment has regained some credibility and is sometimes employed to great effect in cases of chronic tissue necrosis.

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