A ‘burn’ refers to an injury to the skin or tissue caused by direct or close contact to heat. As the skin touches a hot pan or gets overexposed to certain chemicals, the cells underneath die, causing damage to the skin.
As a result, the injured skin will produce collagen (a type of protein) to facilitate tissue repair. Over time, the burned area will gradually heal itself, forming a thickened wound called scars.
Burn scars are the result of the wound healing following a partial or full-thickness thermal injury. Thermal injury can frequently result in extensive scarring, which may have a profound psychological impact on the victim, serving as a visible reminder of a traumatic event.
Most of us have suffered a burn at some point in our lives, most often a thermal burn (read below to find out about other types of burn). However, fortunately, we do not usually require medical attention. For more serious burns, first aid is needed, plus potentially plastic surgery to reduce any scarring.
Luckily, Dr. Zaydon can help you feel and look more physically appealing and regain that confidence that you once had. Keep reading to find out more about burns, their treatment, and how plastic surgery can help you recover from your burn injury and scars.
Did you know that there are over 500,000 burn-related ER visits each year? (Source: American Burn Association). Studies also revealed that the most common cause of burn injuries in adults are smoking and an open flame. Of course, not all burn accidents leave permanent scars. It will depend on multiple factors, which are also how burns and burn scars are categorized.
Burns are typically classified in three different ways: based on the source of the heat energy, the depth or severity of the burn, and scar appearance and how it affects the skin.
One way to classify burn injuries is to identify the heat energy source or the main cause of the burn. It’s important to note that regardless of the circumstances, all five of them can be serious and indeed life-threatening. Here are some of the most common causes of burns:
Thermal burns refer to skin injuries caused by contact with any external heat source. The increased temperature of such objects can result in tissue and cell death or charring. Some possible sources of thermal burns include hot oil, grease, steam, open flame from a fireplace, and house fire.
Electrical burn injuries happen when a high-energy electric current comes into contact or travels through the body. It may also occur when high voltage electricity causes clothing and other materials to catch fire, causing burn injuries.
Some common instances that may cause electrical burns include touching an exposed electrical cord, a hair dryer falling into the water, a or lightning strike.
Mild electrical burns may result in painful superficial skin injury and may exhibit blistering or fluid leakage. On the other hand, severe burns from high electric current not only cause dermal damage; it can also affect the victim’s internal organs (e.g., heart, kidney, nervous system) and may even cause death.
Chemical burns occur when the skin, eyes, or mouth gets overexposed with corrosive materials. Some examples of harsh substances that can damage the tissues include detergents, strong acids, pesticides, drain cleaners, and fertilizers.
In the span of 10 years, chemical burns only accounted for about 3% of all adults who visited burn centers exhibiting chemical burn injury. Although rare, this type of burn can still cause permanent damage to the skin or, worse, vision loss.
Radiation burn refers to a skin injury that happens as an adverse effect of radiation therapy. This burn commonly affects cancer patients who are undergoing radiation therapy regularly.
A friction burn occurs when the skin comes into contact with a hard surface while moving at high speed. This type of skin injury is a product of physical trauma and heat, resulting in thermal burns and skin abrasions.
Some of the most common causes of friction burns include motorcycle accidents, treadmills at home, sports, and outdoor activities.
According to studies, friction burns have a high prevalence rate for both children and adults. However, there is little to no record of friction burns in medical facilities as patients do not seek treatment because most injuries are only mild in nature.
Burns are described as serious skin damage that causes the skin cells of the affected area to die. They can occur due to accidents brought by hot liquids, hot solids or flames. The three classifications of burns based on their severity are:
Image source: https://www.buoyhealth.com/learn/burns#types
Mild or first-degree burns only result in temporary scar tissues that can fade over time. However, if the injury affects the deeper layers of the skin, then that may lead to more permanent scarring. Such burn scars may be classified into three types according to their appearance.
Hypertrophic, contracture and keloidal burn scars are not life-threatening. However, they can sometimes impair one’s mobility, especially if they occur near the joints or affect the deeper layers of the muscles. So, it’s vital to seek the help of an expert burns plastic surgeon to reconstruct your skin appearance and bring back optimal mobility.
Burn treatment depends on the severity, wound size, and wound depth. Most mild or first-degree burns can be treated at home using first aid techniques and natural remedies. But for second and third-degree burns, immediate medical assistance is needed to avoid any complications.
Treating burns goes beyond pain management, removal of dead tissue, grafting and other surgical procedures. It extends to the body or facial reconstruction and burns rehabilitation program that may be needed by the patient to fully recover from their injury.
Here are the three main stages of a patient’s comprehensive treatment plan for burns.
Standard first aid for burns is to cool the burn with running cold water. There are several other first aid steps to take. Read the full list (provided by the Red Cross).
In the event that your burn is more serious, you may be left with scarring. The good news is that plastic surgery can help reduce the appearance of scarring. There are many different procedures available, depending on the exact condition of your injury. Your expert plastic surgeon burns specialist will know the right treatment option and plan of care for you. Read more about plastic surgery for scars.
Post-burn rehabilitation plays a vital role in a patient’s full recovery. The program entails different modalities (e.g., physical and occupational therapy) that will help improve the patient’s mobility and functional independence. Additionally, rehabilitation can decrease the likelihood of developing post-traumatic burn effects.
(Source: Red Cross).
Accidents with gasoline, which is used while barbecuing or grilling, are a major cause of thermal burns in the U.S. It has been reported that gasoline-related burns account for 13,000 – 15,000 ER visits per year.
Every year, there are thousands of barbecue burn injuries in Miami from the careless or unlucky use of lighter/starter fluids and/or gas. Here are a few safety tips for around the barbecue.
Read more about barbecue safety here.
Unfortunately these burns do happen, and when they do, it is advisable to find the best plastic surgeon for bbq burns in South Florida. Dr. Zaydon is surely the person you want to see if, by any chance, you get these barbeque burns.
Regrettably, we get too many requests from patients looking for a plastic surgeon for barbecue burn in Miami. We believe it is best to avoid this kind of injuries altogether, so please follow the above advice whenever you feel like a bonfire or barbecue with friends.
Read more about barbecue safety here.
Burn injuries caused by a liquid material (e.g., boiling water) are called scald burns. This type of burn can bring immediate and severe pain, as well as serious scarring, depending on the severity. Scalding can happen anywhere, but it is commonly seen in the food and restaurant industry.
A boiling water burn can cause a variety of symptoms, from superficial epidermal burn to full-thickness burn injury. Unfortunately, a third-degree burn caused by boiling water can bring lasting damage to the tissues and may even endanger the victim’s life.
Work-related burns are skin injuries that happen during or in the workplace. It can either be thermal, electrical, chemical, radiation, or scalding.
Although they are technically not part of any burn classification, work-related burns should be given attention since they account for the majority of all burn cases. In fact, studies stated that work-related burns happen twice as much as non-work-related burn injuries.
Fortunately, if you incurred your burn at work or while performing work-related tasks, then the cost of medical treatment may be covered by your employer or their workers’ compensation insurance plan. Navigating the complexities of a work-related injury can add complexity to the issue, so working with a plastic surgeon who accepts workers’ compensation can make the process easier.
After the initial treatment of your burn injury, your skin will start healing the wound, leaving a noticeable scar behind. Fortunately, several non-surgical options exist to remove burn scars and even mitigate unpleasant scar appearance. This includes the following:
The use of silicone gel to eliminate scars has been a common non-invasive technique for over 30 years. Studies suggest that applying medical-grade silicone gel to burn scars can reduce its texture, color, and height. It works by:
A burn injury damages the oil glands of the skin, causing the skin to become dry and itchy. As a result, the patient may experience discomfort, which, in turn, may cause them to scratch or rub the scarred area.
To avoid this, you can apply moisturizers or emollients to prevent skin irritation. However, you should consult your doctor or plastic surgeon first before using anything.
Burn injuries and scars have a higher risk of sustaining more damage from sun exposure as they contain harmful ultraviolet rays. Overexposure to UV rays can also make the scar more noticeable and turn a darker color.
Burn centers are known to use specific massaging techniques (e.g., kneading, skin rolling) to help reduce the height and unpleasant appearance of the scar. Moreover, it can aid in decreasing the pain, irritation, itchiness, and sensitivity of the burn scar.
An occupational therapist may also perform such methods during burn rehabilitation programs.
According to data from the American Burn Association, about 96.7% of all burn victims survive, but most burn patients are left with serious disabilities and scarring.
Plastic surgeons who treat burns play an important role in making the lives of burn injury patients better by giving them the hope to improve their quality of life. Plastic surgeons are now providing a number of procedures that assist patients with physical and cosmetic limitations caused by burn-damaged skin.
Dr Zaydon, as a burns expert in Miami, has listed below the things you need to know about plastic surgery for burns. More specifically, he will explain the types of burns that can occur, the benefits of contemporary treatments, what to expect during and after surgery, and advice for post-surgical care.
As a local burns expert, Dr Zaydon advises that the type of procedure will depend on the kind of scar. So, for example, the procedure selected may vary between burn scars, deformities or contractures.
All procedures which aim to reduce the severity of scars are referred to as scar revision and are usually performed under local or general anesthesia. Scar revision procedure involves:
After the surgery, you may experience soreness, tenderness, tingling, numbness and itching around the incision area. Mild oozing and bruising may also be visible, and a small lump may also be formed. All these are normal and should not be a cause for your concern.
Tips to prevent post-surgery infection:
Remember not to:
Signs of infection include:
IF YOU NOTICE ANY OF THE ABOVE SIGNS OF INFECTIONS, IMMEDIATELY CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR.
As a plastic surgeon for burns in Miami, Dr Zaydon treats a variety of burns. He has many years of experience helping burn victims through face reconstruction and removing and reducing the appearance of scars brought by burns. Read more about Thomas Zaydon, M.D.
Thomas Zaydon, M.D. is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who specializes in reconstructive surgery, including the treatment of burns. In addition to treating burns, he also frequently serves as a Plastic Surgery Consultant, Expert Witness, and Expert Medical Advisor and provides IMEs and Peer Reviews.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.
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