Difference between Gangrene and Necrosis | Gangrene vs Necrosis

Gangrene vs Necrosis

Difference between gangrene and necrosis; – Gangrene and necrosis are two different terms that perhaps are not very common to hear in the mouth of people who are not doctors. Given the fact that they are different pathologies, which people often confuse; it is important to clarify some of the basic differences, just in case and happens to you or some of your loved ones.

Difference between gangrene and necrosis

After extensive tissue injury, doctors can use these terms to explain things to you. Sometimes it is very difficult to explain, because they are complex processes with many important stages; which are why health professionals use terms such as necrosis or gangrene to refer to the whole process. Here below we are discussing the difference between gangrene and necrosis.

The first thing to know is that there are several types of necrosis and that gangrene is one of those types. Necrosis can occur either directly or after cell degeneration. The first changes are very subtle and appear in the electron microscope only after 2 or 3 hours and under the light microscope only after 6 hours.

Cellular changes can be divided into nuclear and cytoplasm changes. The nuclear material can be grouped in dense masses that provoke stains, to this it are known like “picnosis”; subsequently, these groups can be divided into small particles in a process known as “karyorrhexis”. Cytoplasmic changes start in the cytoplasm and create acid spots; this is due to the denaturation of the cytoplasmic proteins. Special organs absorb water and swell.

There are many types of necrosis: coagulative necrosis, liquefaction necrosis, fat necrosis, caseous necrosis, gum necrosis, fibrinoid necrosis and gangrene. Coagulative necrosis is commonly seen in solid organs after insufficient blood flow. In liquefaction necrosis the cell is completely smoothed, so there is no cell contour, this is commonly seen in the brain and spinal cord. There are two types of fat necrosis, enzymatic and non-enzymatic. In enzymatic fat necrosis, a white chalk appearance is created, while non-enzymatic fat necrosis is seen mainly in the subcutaneous tissue, chest and abdomen. Patients with non-enzymatic fat necrosis almost always have a history of trauma. Caseosay and gomatosa necrosis are due to the formation of granulomas after infections. Fibrinoid necrosis is commonly seen in patients with autoimmune diseases.

Gangrene is a term widely used to refer to a clinical condition where tissue necrosis extends, complicating to varying degrees by secondary bacterial infection. There are three types of gangrene; Dry, wet and gangrenous gasses. Dry gangrene occurs mainly in the extremities, due to lack of blood supply resulting from obstruction of the arteries. Wet gangrene is the result of a severe bacterial infection superimposed on necrosis. It can occur in the extremities as well as in the internal organs. Wet gangrene is difficult to delimit from adjacent healthy tissue, therefore, surgical excision is difficult. The mortality rate in wet gangrene is high.

Gaseous gangrene is caused by infection with Clostridium perfringens. It is characterized by extensive necrosis and gas production. There is crepitation on the palpation.

Key Differences between Gangrene and Necrosis

  • Necrosis can occur without infection, while gangrene is due to necrotic tissue infection.
  • Generally, gangrene is more extensive than necrosis.
  • Mortality from gangrene is greater than from necrosis.