What are the pathophysiologic mechanisms of frostbite injury?

Updated: Oct 13, 2020
  • Author: Bobak Zonnoor , MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Mechanisms of frostbite injury include the following:

  • Direct cold damage to cells

  • Direct cell damage from ice crystals, which includes protein and lipid disruption and electrolyte shifts [17]

  • Indirect cell damage from intracellular dehydration caused by the presence of extracellular ice crystals

  • Microvascular stasis, thrombus formation, embolic events in the microvasculature, and ischemia [18]

  • Reperfusion inflammatory injury with ultimate tissue necrosis

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