A gangrenous stomatitis, usually beginning in the mucous membrane of the corner of the mouth or cheek, and then progressing fairly rapidly to involve the entire thickness of the lips or cheek (or both), with conspicuous necrosis and complete sloughing of tissue; usually observed in poorly nourished children and debilitated adults, especially in lower socioeconomic groups, and frequently preceded by another disease, e.g., kala azar, dysentery, or scarlet fever. A similar process (n. pudendi, n. vulvae) also may involve the labia majora. Several organisms are usually found in the necrotic material, but fusiform bacilli, Borrelia organisms, staphylococci, and anaerobic streptococci are most frequently observed. SYN: cancrum oris, stomatonecrosis, water canker. [G. nome, a spreading (sore)]

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no·ma 'nō-mə n a spreading invasive gangrene chiefly of the lining of the cheek and lips that is usu. fatal and occurs most often in persons severely debilitated by disease or profound nutritional deficiency see CANCRUM ORIS

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a gangrenous infection of the mouth that spreads to involve the face. It is rare in civilized communities and is usually found in debilitated or malnourished individuals. Noma is a severe form of ulcerative gingivitis.

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no·ma (noґmə) [Gr. nomai eating sores] 1. a gangrenous process of the mouth and face, usually seen in debilitated or malnourished children; it begins as a small vesicle or ulcer on the gingiva, rapidly becomes necrotic, and spreads to destroy large areas of the oral mucosa and tissues of the face, resulting in severe disfigurement and sometimes even death. Bacteria implicated in the etiology include fusiform bacilli, Treponema vincentii, and Bacteroides melaninogenicus. Called also cancrum oris and gangrenous stomatitis. 2. a rare condition with gangrenous erosions similar to those of noma of the face but involving the genitalia; see erosive balanitis, under balanitis, and erosive vulvitis, under vulvitis.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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