What are the characteristics of third-degree frostbite?

Updated: Oct 13, 2020
  • Author: Bobak Zonnoor , MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Blisters contain high amounts of thromboxane and prostaglandins. They contract and dry within 2-3 weeks, forming a dark eschar that sloughs off in 4 weeks, leaving poorly keratinized skin that is easily traumatized. Sequelae include paresthesias, hyperhidrosis, and persistent or transient cold sensitivity.

Third-degree frostbite has the following characteristics:

  • Subdermal plexus freezing

  • Hemorrhagic blister formation

  • Blue-gray discoloration of the skin

  • Deep burning pain on rewarming, lasting 5 weeks

  • Thick gangrenous eschar formation within 2 weeks

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