Burns are devastating injuries that have the potential to kill, maim, and cause great pain. Inhalation injuries are the main cause of death in the burn injury. These usually occur when the patients are burned inside an enclosed space such as a burning home where a large amount of smoke is inhaled. Even with the best of care, the injury to the lungs is sometimes too great for the victim to survive.
First and superficial second degree burns are partial thickness burns which may heal without skin grafting as there is still healthy skin at the bottom of the burn to heal the skin from the bottom up. Full thickness or 3rd degree burns and deep 2nd degree burns most often require surgery in the form of skin graft to restore skin coverage.
Patients who burn large parts of their body will often need more than one trip to the operating room for the Plastic Surgeon to remove the nonviable skin and replace it with skin grafts. When people are burned across joints, the burns may heal by tightening the skin and restricting joint movement. Plastic Surgeons are often called upon to provide reconstruction after burn injuries even when skin grafting is available and performed. Combinations of skin flaps and grafts are used to provide additional skin when it is required.