orbital cellulitis

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orbital cellulitis

cellulitis that involves the tissue layers posterior to the orbital septum.
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012

orbital cellulitis

Ophthalmology Acute infection of the tissues of the eye, with potentially serious complications Etiology Bacterial infection, usually an extension from the ethmoid or para-nasal sinuses, regional abscesses, trauma to eye, or foreign object Agents H influenzae, S aureus, S pneumoniae, beta hemolytic streptococci
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

or·bi·tal cel·lu·li·tis

(ōr'bi-tăl sel'yū-lī'tis)
Cellulitis that involves the tissue layers posterior to the orbital septum.
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


(sel?yu-lit'is ) [ cellula + -itis, ]
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A spreading bacterial infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissues, usually caused by streptococcal or staphylococcal infections in adults (and occasionally by Haemophilus species in children). It may occur following damage to skin from an insect bite, an excoriation, or other wound. The extremities, esp. the lower legs, are the most common sites. Adjacent soft tissue may be involved. Affected skin becomes inflamed: red, swollen, warm to the touch, and tender. Spread of infection up lymphatic channels may occur. Cellulitis involving the face is called erysipelas. When it affects the lower extremities, cellulitis must be differentiated from stasis dermatitis, which is associated most commonly with bilateral, chronic dependent edema and, occasionally, with deep venous thrombosis. Risk factors for cellulitis include diabetes mellitus, lymphedema, venous stasis or insufficiency, immune suppression, injection drug use, malnutrition, peripheral vascular disease, and previous skin diseases. See: illustration; necrotizing fasciitis


Bacteria gain access through breaks in the skin and spread rapidly, overwhelming normal body defenses; lesions between the toes from athlete's foot are common entry sites.


For mild cases of cellulitis, oral antibiotics may be effective depending on the causative organism. For severe cases, intravenous penicillinase-resistant penicillins are used; surgical débridement to obtain cultures and to rule out fasciitis is recommended for patients with diabetes.


Rarely, group A streptococcal cellulitis may be complicated by exfoliative dermatitis or infection of the subcutaneous fat and fascia, causing necrosis (necrotizing fasciitis), a condition popularly ascribed to the action of “flesh-eating bacteria.”

Patient care

Blood cultures should be obtained from patients with cellulitis to assess for sepsis before beginning therapy with antibiotics. The affected body part should be elevated above the level of the heart. Outlining the affected area with a skin marker allows the caregiver to readily determine if inflamed tissues are responding to therapy. Size, shape, color, and temperature of the affected area and surrounding tissues should be documented and any drainage described. Applying warm soaks to the area increases vasodilation, thus decreasing edema and relieving pain. Pain should be treated with prescribed oral analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs. Blood sugars, if elevated, should be lowered to normal levels (preferably about 126 mg/dl or less). Patients on prolonged bedrest should be given heparin to prevent deep venous thrombosis as well as stool softeners to prevent constipation. Patients who develop cellulitis are often at risk for recurrence; they should learn general skin hygiene, how to clean cuts, scratches, cracked skin, and abrasions, and the importance of prompt treatment for infections.

dissecting cellulitis of the scalp

An inflammatory pustular disease of the scalp, similar to acne conglobata or hidradenitis suppurativa. It can be treated surgically, with isotretinoin, or with laser therapy. Synonym: perifolliculitis capitis abscedens

eosinophilic cellulitis

A rash marked by firm, swollen, itchy patches that appear suddenly. The patches may be oval or circular, violet or red, and are associated with abnormally high blood eosinophil levels. The cause is unknown.
Synonym: Wells syndrome

orbital cellulitis

Postseptal cellulitis.

pelvic cellulitis


periorbital cellulitis

Preseptal cellulitis.

postseptal cellulitis

Facial infection invading the orbit. Synonym: orbital cellulitis

preseptal cellulitis

Soft tissue infection limited to the tissues anterior to the orbital septum. Synonym: periorbital cellulitis
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners

orbital cellulitis

Inflammation of the soft tissues in the bony cavern which encloses and protects the eyeball. There is great pain, swelling of the eyelids, bulging of the CONJUNCTIVA and often protrusion of the eyeball. Urgent antibiotic treatment, and sometimes surgical drainage of pus, are needed.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005

cellulitis, orbital 

Infection of the orbital contents caused by Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus or Haemophilus influenzae. It is often caused by the spread of infection from adjacent structures, especially the sinuses. The clinical signs are fever, pain, proptosis, redness, swelling of the lid and orbital tissue and restricted eye movements which may occasionally lead to diplopia and, as the condition worsens, visual acuity decreases. Initial management consists of parenteral antibiotics but surgery may become necessary. See lamina papyracea.
Millodot: Dictionary of Optometry and Visual Science, 7th edition. © 2009 Butterworth-Heinemann
References in periodicals archive ?
Preseptal cellulitis was found in 32 (88.9%) of 36 patients who were hospitalized and treated with a diagnosis of orbital tissue infection between January 2014 and December 2015, and orbital cellulitis was found in four (11.9%).
Shuttleworth et al reported a case of orbital cellulitis in a 16-year-old girl after a zygoma fracture; they concluded that antibiotic prophylaxis is necessary in all cases to prevent infectious complications.
The inclusion cysts may rupture spontaneously or with trauma, resulting in an intense inflammatory response in the surrounding tissues that may mimic an orbital cellulitis [53].
Orbital bleeds, damage to vortex veins and local extravasation into the subconjunctival space make surgery difficult, and serious local complications such as orbital cellulitis may occur.
Patients with focal unilateral maxillary pain and fever may have orbital cellulitis. In these cases there is often redness and tenderness around the maxillary sinus; Staphylococcus aureus is often the cause.
* Orbital cellulitis. This presents as a swollen lid that appears to be getting worse.
Peri and her mother are warned that if there are any changes in vision, increased swelling, pain, or redness, she should call the office or go to the emergency room immediately, since these are signs of orbital cellulitis.
The major infections of the ocular adnexal and orbital tissues are defined as a preseptal cellulitis and orbital cellulitis depending on the site of the infection.
More serious sequelae of acute dacryocystitis include extension into the orbit with formation of an abscess and development of orbital cellulitis. In this case series we have 3 patients presenting with epiphora and purulent discharge from puncta.
Orbital cellulitis is an emergency and usually refers to infection spread into the orbital cavity behind the orbital septum.
She was hospitalised with a diagnosis of orbital cellulitis. She had been treated with Ceftazidine 3g/day and Vancomycine1000 mg/day for 15 days.