JOURNAL ARTICLE
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MR imaging in acute infectious cellulitis.

Radiology 1994 August
PURPOSE: To describe magnetic resonance (MR) imaging findings in acute infectious cellulitis and assess its value for the diagnosis of severe necrotizing forms.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Spin-echo (SE) T1- and T2-weighted imaging was performed in 36 patients with acute infectious cellulitis. T1-weighted SE images obtained after injection of a paramagnetic contrast agent were also obtained when an abscess was suspected on precontrast images. Sixteen patients underwent surgical débridement, along with fascial and muscle biopsy.

RESULTS: Distinct MR imaging features were found in patients with necrotizing soft-tissue infections, that is, hyperintense signal on T2-weighted images at the deep fasciae, poorly defined areas of hyperintense signal on T2-weighted images within muscles, and peripheral enhancement on contrast material-enhanced T1-weighted images. In nonnecrotizing cellulitis, signal intensity abnormalities were seen only in the subcutaneous fat.

CONCLUSION: The precise extent of acute cellulitis and the presence of necrotizing soft-tissue infections can be determined with MR imaging, particularly on T2-weighted images.

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