Which histologic findings are characteristic of frostbite?

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

The presence of a greater number of intracellular ice crystals compared to extracellular ice crystals suggests a rapid cooling of the skin.

The time frame of frostbite injury is as follows:

  • First hour - Endothelial leakage

  • First 6 hours - Erythrocyte extravasation

  • Within 6-24 hours - Leukocyte migration and vasculitis

  • Within 1-2 weeks - Medial degeneration, loss of intracellular attachments, and vacuolization of keratinocytes


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