PURPOSE: Fournier's gangrene is a rapidly progressive (and aggressive), necrotizing fasciitis of the genitalia and perineum. Despite the use of broad spectrum antibiotics and surgical debridement, morbidity and mortality remain significant. The purpose of this study is to investigate and evaluate the clinical and laboratory characteristics of this disease. METHODS: We reviewed 17 cases of Fournier's gangrene during 10 years from January, 1990 to December, 1999. We retrospectively analyzed these patients and considered several factors, which were age, sex, combined and etiologic factors, symptom and location of infection, duration of admission, operation and its complication, result of bacterial culture and sensitivity of antibiotics, morbidity and mortality. RESULTS: the mean age was 47.4 years with an age range of 3 to 77. The etiologies included unknown (65.7%), anorectal infection (23.5%) and hemorrhoidectomy (11.8%). The combined diseases (predisposing factors) included diabetes mellitus (52.9%), alcohol abuse, steroids or chemotherapy, liver cirrhosis and malignancy. Aggressive surgical debridement with broad spectrum antibiotics therapy was done on 16 patients, 1 patient refused operation. There were 3 colostomy cases, one orchiectomy, one suprapubic cystostomy case. The most common cultured organism was E.coli, 8 cases (53.3%). The mean hospital stay was 32.9 days. 3 patients (17.6%) were died due to sepsis and multiorgan failure. CONCLUSIONS: Our results showed that the early recognition, aggressive debridement of devitalized tissue, antibiotic therapy, search for primary source are considered as the treatment of choice for Fournier's gangrene.