General Guideline Principles for Silicosis for
workers compensation patients

The New York State workers compensation board has developed these guidelines to help physicians, podiatrists, and other healthcare professionals provide appropriate treatment for Silicosis.

These Workers Compensation Board guidelines are intended to assist healthcare professionals in making decisions regarding the appropriate level of care for their patients with ankle and foot disorders.

The guidelines are not a substitute for clinical judgement or professional experience. The ultimate decision regarding care must be made by the patient in consultation with his or her healthcare provider.

Silicosis of Occupational Interstitial Lung Disease

A sufficient amount of respirable silica exposure causes silicosis, an incurable disease that is linked to a number of pulmonary and systemic problems. Patients who have silicosis or have been exposed to silica are more likely to develop lung cancer. In October 1996, the IARC categorised silica as a chemical in Group I that is “carcinogenic to humans.”

At least 1.7 million American employees are exposed to respirable crystalline silica, making silicosis the most prevalent occupational disease in the world.

Etiologic Agent of Silicosis

When exposed to crystalline silicon dioxide, silicosis develops. The development of silicosis has not been linked to exposure to silica in other amorphous forms, such as glass. Sand does, however, contain crystalline silica. Construction, sandblasting, and mining are just a few of the professions and industries that expose workers to silica.

Condition Considerations of Silicosis

Three distinct disease patterns—chronic silicosis, subacute/accelerated silicosis, and acute silicosis—can be brought on by silica exposure. Chronic silicosis, which often manifests after more than ten years of exposure, is the most prevalent type.

Shorter, more intense exposures cause subacute silicosis, which typically develops two to five years after the initial exposure. Following prolonged exposure to fine silica-containing dust over several months, acute silicosis is frequently observed.

Conglomerative silicosis, which develops from chronic silicosis, causes large, accreted fibrotic zones in the lung and causes:

  • respiratory failure

  • pulmonary hypertension,

  • cor pulmonale with right heart failure.

Additionally, patients with silicosis are at higher risk of

  • Chronic sputum production, as determined by pulmonary function tests, with or without obstructive impairment.

  • Chronic airflow restriction, mucus hypersecretion, and/or pathologic emphysema have all been linked to exposure to silica at levels below those linked to simple silicosis.

  • lung cancer,

  • pulmonary tuberculosis,

  • autoimmune disease,

  • Renal disease.

Latency of Silicosis

Accelerated silicosis is one of the rare exceptions to the rule that silicosis develops clinically over years.

Diagnosis of Silicosis

The diagnosis of silicosis is typically made clinically, based on an occupational history of sufficient exposure with appropriate latency, objective radiographic evidence (chest radiograph and/or high resolution CT), an evaluation of pulmonary function, and consideration of other possible differential diagnoses.

What our office can do if you have workers compensation injuries

We have the experience to help you with their workers compensation injuries. We understand what you are going through and will meet your medical needs and follow the guidelines set by the New York State Workers Compensation Board.

We understand the importance of your workers compensation cases. Let us help you navigate through the maze of dealing with the workers compensation insurance company and your employer.

We understand that this is a stressful time for you and your family. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us so we will do everything we can to make it as easy on you as possible.

We are orthopedic surgeons and do not treat chest diseases. We will refer you to someone in your area who does treat respiratory symptoms.


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Dr. Nakul Karkare

I am fellowship trained in joint replacement surgery, metabolic bone disorders, sports medicine and trauma. I specialize in total hip and knee replacements, and I have personally written most of the content on this page.

You can see my full CV at my profile page.