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Globally, as an estimated 265,000 deaths are reported due to burns, primarily in the extensive majority of low- and middle-income countries. In India, every year at least 1,000,000 people are moderately or severely burnt every year.

A burn is a type of skin or other organic tissue injury that mainly caused due to heat radiation, friction, electricity, radioactivity, or with chemicals.

Non-fatal burn injuries come out as the leading cause of morbidity and mainly occur in the home and workplace. When a few or all of the skin cells or other tissues are destroyed, it is known as Thermal or heat burns. It is mainly caused due to:

  • Hot liquids thermal or heat burns.
  • Hot solid or contact burns.
  • Flame burns.

Besides a leading cause of morbidity, non-fatal burns are also among the leading causes of disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) in low- and middle-income groups. It may include prolonged hospitalization, disability, and disfigurement, along with resulting stigma and rejection.

Although most burns cause minor injuries and only require first aid and a dressing. However, burns that damage a large area of the body can be extremely serious and life-threatening that may also require intensive-care treatment along with several emergency operations. Moreover, various small burns can cause deep injuries, which are primarily treated with an operation.

The seriousness of burn injuries are usually analyzed by determining following major factors:

  • How much body surface area (BSA) is injured.
  • How deeply burn has damaged the skin.
  • Age and general health of the affected person.

Minor burns are often dealt by a Trauma, Emergency or GP surgeon but in serious concerns, a referral can be made to a specialist plastic surgeon.

Plastic surgeons play an important part of the burns team who take care of burns patients right from their admission to a Hospital, during their initial treatment, and even after their discharge from the hospital, in case, they suffer from long term scarring or disability, require rehabilitation and other treatment. Plastic surgery mainly helps burn patients to improve function or appearance. However, a surgical procedure can only help patients to improve scars and other burn complications, but it cannot remove scars completely. So, sometimes patients may need other scar treatments also that help to overcome the psychological problems caused due to burns injuries.

Therefore, wherever possible, post-burns cases should consult a burns specialist who can best advise the most appropriate course of action or solution.

By assessing each person along these lines, surgeons can identify immediate treatment needs and options, and how these need to be managed with regard to a patient’s expectations.

Out of many surgical techniques for the burns treatment, some major ones are described below:

Skin graft
In this procedure, a healthy patch of skin is entirely taken from a specific region of the body along with blood vessels, also referred to the donor site, and grafted it to cover missing or damaged area of the skin. Basically, any of two types of skin graft is used in burns:

  • Split thickness graft: Mostly used in burns cases, by utilizing skin layers closest to the injured surface.
  • Full thickness graft: Mostly used in reconstructive or secondary treatments than acute burns and it utilizes complete skin layers from the donor site.

Flap surgery
Flap reconstruction technique usually aids in the recovery of burns victims. This surgery involves the transfer of a whole living part of skin tissue including its own blood supply from a suitable region of the body along to another injured or damaged region to restore its form and function suffering from lost skin, fat, muscle movement, and skeletal support.

Tissue expansion
This procedure involves stretching of surrounding tissue that allows the body to grow extra skin. Then, near the body area to be repaired, a balloon-like device also referred as an expander is inserted under the skin, and after that it is gradually filled with salt water, causing the skin to stretch and grow. This is not unlike the way that the tummy skin stretches and grows during pregnancy. This procedure may take few to several weeks.

Other techniques

  • Allograft or Xenograft: Here, skin is taken either from human organ donors (Allograft), or from pigs (Xenograft), and then utilized in the acute and face extensive burns
  • Artificial-skin: This surgical technique involves utilization of tissue engineering to manufacturing products which act just like the deeper skin layers that form part of wound healing.
  • Cosmetic camouflage: This technique is used to perform makeup and correct a color mismatch in the grafted areas.

At Mediclinic, we make use of the advanced machinery and technologies to offer world class services for both burns patients and those with a variety of other problems such as acne scars, post-traumatic or post-surgical scarring. Our expert dressing and wound care specialists have years of expertise to successfully perform extensive burn surgeries, plastic surgeries or reconstructive surgeries. Our dedicated nursing staff always gets ready to deliver their expert services including timely follow up so that patients do not need to stay any longer than required in hospital.