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Thomas John Zaydon MD FACS

plastic surgeon in Miami

Can a Third Degree Burn Heal on Its Own?

A third-degree burn is also called a “full-thickness burn.” It involves at least two full layers of the skin, the epidermis and the dermis. Some fat, nerve, muscle, and bone damage are also observed in many patients. The burned tissue may look white or yellow, sometimes brown or black. 

According to experts, third-degree burns have diminished pain or do not hurt at all. This is because the burn has destroyed the nerve endings on the skin. Because the damage is bad, plastic surgery for 3rd degree burns is a necessity to repair the burned skin to some extent.


Third Degree Burn Healing

Despite the absence of pain, a third-degree burn is the most severe type. As such, there’s a minimal chance that the burn will heal on its own. In most cases, to heal a third-degree burn requires surgery and another procedure called a skin graft, one of the many effective methods for scar removal in Miami.


Skin Graft Basics

Skin grafts entail removing some healthy skin from an area of the body to be transplanted to the burned area. A skin graft may need to be done part by part, depending on the extent of the burn.

This procedure is especially needed if the burn victim is experiencing: 

  • Skin infections
  • Open wounds
  • Bedsores
  • Skin ulcers

It’s not possible to use the skin of another person because there’s a possibility of rejection, unless for temporary use only. It is best if the skin to be used came from the burn victim’s own body. 

Types of Skin Grafts

A split-thickness skin graft might be needed to heal a burn with a large surface area. This is the most common procedure since its rejection rate is lower. The donor skin is usually harvested from the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, and the back. According to a study in the journal Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, split-thickness skin graft has an 85 to 93 percent success rate at the hands of an expert plastic surgeon.

A full-thickness skin graft is ideal for smaller burns, small wounds, and very visible burns, such as facial burns. Donor sites for this procedure are the forearm, the abdomen, the groin, and the skin above the collarbone. 

Skin graft procedures are usually scheduled, so patients will have time to plan their surgery. The duration of hospital stay will depend on the progress of the healing of the burn site and the donor site.


The Outcome of Skin Grafts 

Healing and recovery after the skin graft procedure is on a case to case basis. Typically, however, experts estimate the healing time at about two weeks, if there’s no infection or other complications. 

After the procedure, the burn patient will have to work with a team of doctors and experts to help with the recovery process. To achieve the desired results, the patient may undergo plastic surgery for 3rd degree burns to ensure that the tissue will completely heal and keep the scarring minimal.


Learn more about Dr. Zaydon and scar removal in Miami

Dr. Zaydon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. He is also a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Zaydon serves as an expert witness on liability cases around the country. He has reviewed many cases and has served as an expert witness for both plaintiff and defendant.


Dr. Zaydon offers several ways to remove a scar so your options are not limited. For inquiries, Contact Us.



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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