Types of Necrosis (Causes & Pathology)

Necrosis is one of the most important topic in the field of medical sciences since it is concerned with the death of tissues. In one of my previous posts, I had discussed a type of necrosis in which you learned everything about it in detail. Today, my Moto is a little different. We won’t be discussing just one type of necrosis today but all types of the topic. This will give you a complete study of the necrosis and its various types. After reading this, you will have a good general idea of this disease which is related to the tissue death in the human body. Reading about the basic definitions of the all types, their causes and pathology will definitely help you in obtaining good marks in the exams as well as in the medical practice. So, having done with telling today’s study objectives, let’s move on to the types of Necrosis.

Types of Necrosis:

Necrosis is a very vast topic and it has a lot of types. We have discussed all the major types of Necrosis in this topic along with their definitions, causes and pathology so that you can get a good idea of the all things related to them. So, let’s start with the first type of necrosis which is:

types of necrosis

1. Coagulative Necrosis:

Definition of Coagulative necrosis:

This is first and most dangerous type of cell death. By dangerous, I mean that in this type of necrosis all the cell death happens accidently and there are very few indications before it happens. Ischemia and Infarction are known to be the main causes behind this kind of cell death. As I have already mentioned that this type of cell death happens accidently, that is why it is considered to be the one of the most dangerous types of cell death. That is because of the minor indications and then the consequences are severe. Talking about the architecture, then in this type of necrosis the architecture of the dead tissues is important to be kept reserved for at least a few days so that it can be used for further study and various other medical purposes.

The most common believe on this necrosis is that the when human body gets injured, the structural proteins are being denatured by it. Not only them, but also the lysosomal enzymes also gets infected during the injury. This causes some severe problems. One of them is that the proteolysis of the damaged cells gets blocked. Since this gets blocked it could result in the several worse consequences. All of this helps it to maintain a coagulative shape since the lysosomal enzymes are no longer present. This morphology would stay for some time and then might disappear due to the way it is treated. All of this was just a natural happening but you must also kept in the mind that in various cancerous treatments this type of necrosis is used. This is done by the induction of the cells on a high temperature in case of cancer treatments.

Coagulative necrosis in heart tissue coagulative necrosis in renal cortex


There are a lot of reasons known for this type of cell necrosis to happen but we are going to discuss only few of them. One of the major causes that cause this type of cell death is the lack of the oxygen in that particular area for quite some time. If the tissues don’t get enough oxygen then there are chances that this type of necrosis is going to happen. There are some other causes for this type of necrosis to happen. Many of them do not include the involvement of acute, toxins or trauma and that’s why they form a different classification with the name of coagulative necrosis. Ischemia is another of the major causes that cause this problem. Since ischemia also causes another type of cell death which we are going to study ahead, that’s why it is important to study it in detail to differentiate between the two. Of course due to the lack of time and words we are unable to do it but in the other type of cell necrosis ischemia attacks the central nervous systems and that could be used as a basic points while differentiating between the two types.


Study of the pathology is also very important if you want the detailed study of any disease especially necrosis. While studying the pathology of this type of necrosis, we will come to know that there are basically two types for i.e. Macroscopic and Microscopic.

Macroscopic are those which can be seen the naked eye and is more visible. So a tissue that has been dead would appear like a pale fragment of the tissue that is dead and it would feel quite dry where it got cut on the surface.

Microscopic, as the name suggests, can be observed with the help microscope. While you observe a microscopic cell, you will see that it has no nuclei and also it is a light tissue. This means that these was no structural damage that happened to the cell. Due to this reason and pathology, they are also named as ‘Ghost Cells’ due to the strange appearance of the dead cell.

There is a lot of difference between the two types of pathologies of coagulative necrosis. Cell appears completely different in both the macroscopic and microscopic types of pathology. Having understood both of these types, we can have a good idea of this type of necrosis.

Learn about caseous Necrosis in detail.

2. Liquefactive Necrosis:

Definition Of Liquefactive Necrosis:

The second type of cell death which needs to be studied is the liquefactive necrosis. This type of necrosis is completely different from the one we studies in the 1st type of necrosis. In this type the affected cells form a liquid shape which is a viscous mass. The appearance, the causes and even the pathology is completely separate and give another shape of cell death. We are going to read the definition, causes and different studies that appear during the examination of this type of necrosis. Liquefactive necrosis if not very common, doesn’t imply that it is something to be taken lightly. It has its dangerous consequences if not taken good measures so read carefully about it.

liquefactive necrosis in lungs  liquefactive necrosis in brain tissue


In this type of necrosis, the tissues which are victim of the cell death got into a complete different shape. Instead of disappearing and anything else, they get turned into a viscous mass which is complete liquid and has a strange shape. The most common believes are the two major causes which are bacterial infections and focal bacterial, are considered to be the main causes for this type of necrosis to happen and gain this shape. There many other reasons which we are definitely going to read ahead. The phenomenon in this type of necrosis is completely unique. Hydrolytic enzymes are the main factor in this type of cell necrosis. The cell gets completely digested by this enzyme and cell then gets this liquid shape. Cell debris is needed to be removed which is the job of white blood cells present in the human body. White blood cells then do their job and removes the cell debris after which the cell gets this viscous mass shape which I have already explained in the shape of liquefactive necrosis.

This type of cell death is very dangerous when it happens in the brain. As I have already told you in the first type of the necrosis then which ischemia attack the central nervous system then this type of necrosis happens. This is one of the benefactor. There still are a lot of unclear reasons that why this happens in the brain. Cell death which can be called hypoxic death in the central nervous system caused by the ischemia causes this type of cell necrosis. It is difficult to deal things in brain that’s why it is considered to be very dangerous. The complete architecture of the tissues gets lost and that’s why this causes a viscous mass as explained. This type of cell necrosis can also happen in lungs and that’s it should not be taken lightly.

3. Gangrenous Necrosis:

3rd type of the cell necrosis that should be discussed in this Gangrenous necrosis. This can’t be considered very dangerous but also can’t be taken lightly since it also has its dangerous consequences. There are less difficult measures that can be taken in order to treat this type of necrosis as compared to the above two type.

In this gangrenous necrosis, the cell demise is caused by the insufficient blood flow to the cells of the body. Since cells need blood for their pumping and for them to work correctly, blood is the major benefactor. So, the cells can’t afford any less quantity of blood. So, when the cells do not get enough amount of blood, they tend to die and that’s when this type of classification appears. There are lot of reasons for this type of necrosis to occur. One of the major ones in the different injuries of infection that human get and the cells get damaged. The flow to these cells stops and then the type of necrosis happens which is under discussion. This taken a lot of time and that’s why you can get enough time for treatment but never take it lightly since it can be prove to be life taking. Blood circulation gets affected while humans get injuries and that open the gate for this type of cell necrosis to happen. Further causes are discussed below.

gangrenous necrosis

Causes and Types:

One of the major causes when this type of cell necrosis happens is the when the humans get injuries. In these conditions the cell gets infected and the blood flow to them lessens. And that is when the gangrenous cell necrosis happens in the human body. But this is not all from the causes. Another of the major causes for this necrosis are diabetes and the chain smoking. Chain smokers are less likely to get some good blood in their cells and that’s why they are more likely to get this type of necrosis. Also, people who have diabetes can be also be a victim to gangrene. It is very important that you do not take it lightly and go for the treatment as soon as possible to avoid the hazardous effects of the disease.
There are some other types of necrosis that aren’t very dangerous but still needed to be studies and dealt with.

4. Dry Gangrenous Necrosis

This not as the name suggests. This is actually a type of coagulative necrosis but this happens due to the insufficient blood supply. The reason is similar to the gangrene but the affects it causes are those of the coagulative and that’s why it classified mainly as the type of the first type of necrosis. Fringe corridor infection is the main reason behind this type of necrosis to occur and since it is the type of 1st one, it should be taken seriously.

5. Wet OR Contaminated Gangrenous Necrosis:

In this type of necrosis, the major causes are those in coagulative necrosis. But it can be differentiated according to the appearance of the cell. Cells will be displayed as poorly flourished due to the insufficient blood flow and also, the sepsis are coming out of the cell.

6. Gas Gangrenous Necrosis:

This is another type of necrosis in which the gas get produced inside the tissue and that is due to the contamination of the bacteria present inside the tissues. Microscopic organism proceeds the further action of the spreading of this gas making it a dangerous thing to handle.

7. Fat Necrosis:

This happens due to the certain activities of fats inside the digestive system of the human especially women. That happens to them mainly during pregnancy and need to be dealt with since it can affect the health of the child.

fat necrosis in breast tissue

8. Fibrinoid Necrosis:

Fiber is the main reason for this type of necrosis to happen. The shape of tissues gets irregular and then later causes the cell death. Dangerous hypertension and some other major benefactor play role in this type of necrosis to happen.

fibrinoid necrosis

Some other important Definitions:

Avascular Necrosis:

Blood supply causes many types of necrosis and this is one of them. When the blood supply is limited to the tissue the demise of the bone tissue happens and this is where Avascular Necrosis appears.

Apoptosis VS Necrosis:

Necrosis is the cell death in which due to many factor the death of the tissues present inside the cell happens which later causes the cell to die. While Apoptosis is a programmed cell death which means that the cell dies within the multi-cellular organism through a programmed procedure and there no sudden reactions involved.

Final Words:

So this was all from today’s topic of Types of Necrosis. You learned about different variations, their causes and even their pathology. Hope this would help you greatly in the study of your medical. There must have been many questions arose while studying this topic which you can feel free to ask in the section below. Also leave your feedback in the comments section and tell us what thing we thing to improve on our site. Keep visiting for more!

Hi, This is Hamza Khan from Peshawar, Pakistan. I am a 2nd prof MBBS Student at Bannu Medical College and a hobby Blogger. The Purpose of this site is to share my knowledge and Guide new Medical Students.

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