What is the outlook for frostbite?
Superficial frostnip and frostbite has the best prognosis as extensive tissue damage is not likely. The more superficial the damage, the better the prognosis. These stages typically do not result in medical complications.
Deep / severe frostbite, however, has a poorer outcome, depending on the severity level of the damage incurred. If complications, such as infection and gangrene arise, further tissue destruction can worsen the affected person’s condition and in the worst-case scenario, can even be life-threatening if not handled carefully.
Recovery from frostbite will take some time (anywhere between 6 and 12 months), but even damaged tissue can heal and become viable again. This is one of the main reasons why amputation is only ever really considered months down the line. The distinction between healthy and dead tissue must be made before such drastic measures are taken. Amputation is most often a last resort.
The majority of frostbite cases will, however, result in some degree of long-term symptoms, such as cold sensitivity or sensory loss. Abnormal sensations and pain on an ongoing basis are also common.