Gas gangrene is a surgical emergency. It is the presence of bacteria, usually anaerobic, in dead tissue. Clinically, the foot will smell putrid, pus will be present, and dead tissue will be present. X-rays are necessary to see the gas, and proximal X-rays are necessary to make sure gas did not spread up the ankle or up the leg. There is no conservative care for gas gangrene. The treatment is an I&D (incision and drainage), and/or amputation depending on the level of gas. For example, if there is extensive gas gangrene in the forefoot, an appropriate amputation would be a TMA (transmetatarsal amputation).
To prevent any kind of wet or gas gangrene, which is often seen in diabetic patients, Dr. Zhang maintains a careful and regular watch of all her diabetic patients’ foot and ankle concerns.