Which studies are performed in the workup of frostbite?

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

Laboratory studies of tissue samples, blister fluid, or blood ordinarily do not provide any useful, clinically relevant information in isolated frostbite. Concurrent hypothermia, prolonged exposure with systemic physiologic changes, and previous medical illnesses may exist, however, and laboratory studies in these cases may be helpful.

Imaging studies early in the diagnosis and treatment of frostbite may help determine the extent of the frostbite injury and any associated trauma, such as fractures. They may also assist in predicting prognosis. Because transitory vascular instability lasts 2-3 weeks after the frostbite injury, no imaging technique (eg, thermography, angiography, plethysmography, radioisotope bone scanning) reliably predicts tissue demarcation during the initial frostbite presentation.


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