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September 1964

Sympathectomy in the Treatment of Frostbite

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery and the Heart Research Center, Indiana University Medical Center.

Arch Surg. 1964;89(3):575-584. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1964.01320030165029

It is our purpose to define as well as possible the role of sympathectomy in the treatment of frostbite and its sequelae. We shall point out some of the problems which have made it difficult to reach unanimity of opinion concerning the place of sympathectomy in the management of frostbite, to present our clinical experiences, and to review the pertinent clinical literature.

The Problem  Evaluation of sympathectomy as an adjuvant in the treatment of frostbite has been difficult for a number of reasons. For one thing, there has been a tendency to consider all of the cold injuries together. Though they have certain features in common, chilblains, frostbite, trench foot, and immersion hand and foot differ from one another with respect to mode of injury, acute manifestations, and sequelae. One cannot assume that they will all respond in the same manner to any given therapeutic measure. Here we are concerned