What is the role of gamma radiation and x-ray exposure in the pathogenesis of nonhealing wounds?

Updated: Apr 24, 2020
  • Author: Brian J Daley, MD, MBA, FACS, FCCP, CNSC; Chief Editor: Zubin J Panthaki, MD, CM, FACS, FRCSC  more...
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Answer

Gamma radiation and x-ray exposure cause a zone of stasis, in which local blood supply is impaired by coagulative necrosis due to thrombotic occlusion of smaller arteries. Gamma and x-ray radiation also spawn ionized oxygen that adversely affects DNA. The long-term result is the inhibition of regeneration of skin cells from dividing basal cells. This may cause recalcitrant, painful skin ulcers. The surrounding skin is atrophic, with atrophy of hair follicles and a paucity subcutaneous fat.


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