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Avoidance of total abdominal wall loss despite torso soft tissue clostridial myonecrosis: a case report

Chad Geoffrey Ball*, Jean-Francois Ouellet, Ian Bruce Anderson and Andrew Wallace Kirkpatrick

Author Affiliations

Department of Surgery, University of Calgary, Foothills Medical Centre, 1403-29 St. N.W., T2N 2T9, Calgary, AB, Canada

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Journal of Medical Case Reports 2013, 7:5  doi:10.1186/1752-1947-7-5

Published: 8 January 2013



Clostridial necrotizing soft tissue infections are often fatal. Myonecrosis of the torso is a particularly lethal combination given the classic need for radical debridement of the abdominal and thoracic walls, and therefore total exposure of the intraperitoneal and intrathoracic viscera. This case is unusual do to our ability to preserve anatomical separation between the viscera and the atmosphere.

Case presentation

We present a 42-year-old Caucasian man with obesity and diabetes who developed clostridial myonecrosis of his right torso following a mesenteric lymph node biopsy. This required an aggressive debridement (sparing subcutaneous flaps and internal oblique aponeurosis) followed by reconstruction of his right hemi-torso with a biologic prosthesis to prevent subsequent hernia formation.


Although basic principles associated with radical debridement were maintained, a full thickness torso wall resection was avoided. This provided reconstruction advantages that included endogenous subcutaneous flap coverage, separation of the peritoneal cavity by the internal oblique aponeurosis, and prevention of a subsequent hernia below the arcuate line. This technique would be of interest to any surgeon or clinician who treats patients with life-threatening torso soft tissue infections.

Biologic prosthesis; Hernia; Necrotizing soft tissue infection