What are the characteristics of first-degree frostbite?

Updated: Oct 13, 2020
  • Author: Bobak Zonnoor , MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Four classic stages of frostbite injury have been defined: first degree, second degree, third degree, and fourth degree. This staging system has limited clinical usefulness, however, because it has not been shown to have a direct correlation with survival or tissue loss.

First-degree frostbite has the following characteristics:

  • Nonsensate, central, white plaque surrounded by a ring of hyperemia

  • Epidermal involvement

  • Mild edema

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