Burns can be minor medical problems or life-threatening emergencies. Some of the most severe burns are caused by electricity or chemicals. Scalding liquids are the most common cause of burns in children.
Types of Burns
- Includes only the outer layer of skin, the epidermis
- Skin is usually red and very painful
- Equivalent to superficial sunburn without blisters
- Dry in appearance
- Healing occurs in 3-5 days, injured epithelium peels away from the healthy skin
- Blisters can be present
- Involve the entire epidermis and upper layers of the dermis
- Wound will be pink, red in color, painful and wet appearing
- Should heal in several weeks (10-21 days) without grafting, scarring is usually minimal
- Can be red or white in appearance, but will appear dry.
- Involves the destruction of the entire epidermis and most of the dermis
- Sensation can be present, but diminished
- Most likely will need excision & skin grafting to heal
- All layers of the skin is destroyed
- Extend into the fatty tissues
- Areas can appear, black or white and will be dry
- Can appear leathery in texture
- No pain
- Full thickness that extends into muscle and bone.
Deep or widespread burns can lead to many complications, including:
- Burns can leave skin vulnerable to bacterial infection and increase your risk of sepsis, a life-threatening infection that travels through your bloodstream and affects your whole body. Sepsis is a rapidly progressing, life-threatening condition that can cause shock and organ failure.
- Burns can cause scars and keloids — ridged areas caused by an overgrowth of scar tissue.
- Bone and joint problems
- Deep burns can limit movement of the bones and joints. Scar tissue can form and cause contractures, when skin, muscles or tendons shorten and tighten, permanently pulling joints out of position.
Depending on the severity of your burn, you may require:
- Pain relievers
- Healing burns can be incredibly painful. In many cases, morphine is required — particularly during dressing changes. Anti-anxiety medications may also be helpful.
- Burn creams
- A variety of products can be applied to the burn to help keep it moist, reduce pain, prevent infection and speed healing.
- If you develop an infection, you may need intravenous antibiotics.
- Tetanus shot
- Your doctor might recommend a tetanus shot after a burn injury.
If the burned area is large, especially if it covers any joints, you may need physical therapy exercises designed to stretch the skin so the joints can remain flexible. Other types of exercises can improve muscle strength and coordination.
Skin grafts: Sections of your own healthy skin are needed to replace the scar tissue caused by deep burns. Donor skin from cadavers or pigs can be used as a temporary solution.
Reconstruction: Plastic surgeons can improve the appearance of burn scars and increase the flexibility of joints affected by scarring.
Advanced Plastic Surgery Center & Nouveau Cosmetic Center located in Newark, Delaware, is convenient to Wilmington, Elkton Maryland, Chester County Pennsylvania, and Southern New Jersey. Our well trained staff and highly qualified surgeons are available to assist you with your concerns. Our surgeons use the latest in surgical technology to provide patients with the finest medical care.