What are the pathophysiologic mechanisms of frostbite injury?

Updated: Jul 29, 2019
  • Author: Bobak Zonnoor , MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

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 [16]

  • 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 [17]

  • Reperfusion inflammatory injury with ultimate tissue necrosis


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!