We describe a rare case of necrotizing fasciitis of the ear in an otherwise generally healthy 39-year-old man. The ear is rarely involved in this often-fatal disease. The diagnosis was suspected on the basis of clinical examination and confirmed by computed tomography and pathology of a biopsy specimen, which revealed subcutaneous gas formation and dermal infiltration of inflammatory cells, respectively. The patient was promptly treated with surgical debridement, intravenous antibiotics, and hyperbaric oxygen. He recovered well and subsequently underwent otoplastic reconstruction with very satisfactory results. By documenting this case, we aim to heighten awareness of necrotizing fasciitis of the head and neck in an effort to improve survival rates.
Necrotizing fasciitis is a rare, potentially life-threatening infection. A high index of suspicion with immediate intervention is essential for maximizing patient survival.