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Unanswered questions for cellulitis research: Top 10

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Diagnosis & early treatment of cellulitis

    • What are the best diagnostic criteria for cellulitis, and are they different for different patient groups (e.g. people with lymphoedema)?

    • How can healthcare professionals be best supported to accurately diagnose and manage cellulitis and to advise their patients in how to prevent relapses?*

  • What are the early signs and symptoms of cellulitis that can help to ensure speedy treatment?
* This topic includes the development of tests or tools to assist with the diagnosis and management of cellulitis

Treatment of cellulitis

    • When treating cellulitis, could a higher initial dose and / or longer course of antibiotics result in a quicker recovery and / or fewer relapses?

    • Is the duration, dose and method of administration of antibiotics needed to treat cellulitis related to patient characteristics (e.g. patients with diabetes, who are overweight or have swelling of the limb may require a higher dose/duration)?

    • Does rest / elevation during an episode of cellulitis help to speed up recovery and improve symptoms, compared to exercise/movement of the affected limb?

  • Is there a role for the use of compression garments / bandages on the affected limb during an episode (when tolerable), or immediately following an episode of cellulitis, to speed recovery and reduce complications and recurrence?

Prevention of cellulitis

    • What is the best NON-antibiotic intervention for the prevention of cellulitis (e.g. skin care, foot care, moisturisers, antiseptics, life-style changes such as weight-loss and exercise, compression garments, treating athlete’s foot, complementary and alternative therapy)?

    • What type of patients are most likely to benefit from low-dose antibiotics to prevent repeated episodes of cellulitis?

  • How safe are long-term antibiotics for the prevention of recurrent cellulitis?


 Outside of Top 10, but areas to watch in the future:

  • Is there a role for testing to check that the infection has completely cleared before stopping treatment for cellulitis?
  • Is there a role for tests to identify the type of bacteria causing the cellulitis in deciding the best treatment option?


The rank order of the top 20 uncertainties can be viewed here.

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Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology

The University of Nottingham
King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR


telephone: +44 (0) 115 823 1048
email:cebd@nottingham.ac.uk