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BAMAPHIN 22
10-28-2006, 07:31 PM
A teenager who decided to get her breasts pierced for her 18th birthday faces reconstructive surgery after a flesh-destroying infection forced doctors to remove her left breast.

Stephanie Edington of Crawfordsville remained hospitalized Friday at the Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis, where surgeons also removed lymph nodes and infected skin up to her collar bone.

Dr. Robert Goulet Jr., a professor at the Indiana University Cancer Center, said the piercing created an entry point for the bacteria, but the procedure likely did not cause the infection itself. Edington is diabetic, which left her susceptible to infection, he said.

Doctors diagnosed Edington, who had the piercings on Aug. 29, with necrotizing fasciitis, or gas gangrene a rare condition that results from rapid bacteria growth and leads to tissue destruction. It is only the third documented case in the world of gas gangrene in the breast area, Goulet told The Paper of Montgomery County.

She was in critical condition by the time she arrived at the hospital Oct. 14, Goulet said.

"By the time she got here, the skin tissue was all pretty much completely dead," he said. "She was a very sick kid when she got here."

Edington is on an aggressive antibiotic regimen and has already undergone three surgeries. She faces several more, including eventual breast reconstruction (http://www.srch-results.com/lm/rtl3.asp?si=77&k=breast%20reconstruction).

She said she was eager to be discharged but worries about what awaits her.

http://www.abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory?id=2612244