Burns involve an injury to the skin and associated tissue, often caused by fire, chemicals, heat, electricity, the sun or other factors. They can range in severity and are classified as first, second, third or fourth degree burns, based on their depth and the degree of damage to skin tissue. Burns can often leave patients with severe physical disfigurements, depending on the cause and severity of the burn.
Improving the aesthetic appearance of burns can help the patient's self esteem and prevent permanent scarring. Burn treatments usually involve skin grafting and cosmetic reconstruction, and may be performed in an emergency facility or later on. These treatments also focus on restoring function to the burned skin to reduce the risk of complications such as loss of mobility or a loss of one of the senses.
Acute Burn Care
Any type of burn on the skin requires immediate medical attention to stabilize the patient, clean the wound and reduce the risk of complications such as infection, scarring, breathing problems and limited bone and joint mobility. Our doctors are available for acute burn care services, although patients should call 911 in the case of an emergency. While initial burn care focuses on assessing and treating the initial burn symptoms, additional treatment may be required at a later time for skin reconstruction.
We provide comprehensive burn care that includes an evaluation of the burn and any related conditions, thorough wound care, dressing, pain medications and emergency surgery, if required. It is also important for patients to remain hydrated after a burn, so fluids may be administered intravenously to prevent dehydration.
Most burns leave a scar on the skin, whose appearance depends on the size, location and severity of the burn. While scars usually become less noticeable over time, many patients seek reconstructive treatment to improve the appearance of scars that are physically unattractive or disfiguring. Reconstructive procedures are usually performed after the burn has fully healed, which may be nine months to a year after the original injury.
Scar reconstruction is usually performed through an outpatient surgical procedure that may involve skin and tissue grafts, skin flaps or injectable fillers to restore a more natural appearance, while also correcting any functional problems caused by the scar and improving the patient's self-confidence as well. Your doctor will develop a customized treatment plan for each individual patient based on their condition and goals for surgery.
A contracture is a complication of burn scarring that involves a tightening and thickening of the burn scar that in turn restricts movement of the affected area. It is important for patients to take precautions to prevent contractures from occurring, by exercising, wearing a splint and continuing to promote everyday activities that require movement.
Treatment for contracture scars often involves surgery to release the contracture and restore normal movement to the skin. A skin flap or graft may be used to restore the appearance of the skin in the treated area, while also improving movement and flexibility that may have been affected by the contracture. Physical therapy will often be needed after surgery to stretch the joints and restore movement and function.
Scar revision is performed to reduce the appearance of scars caused by injury or previous surgery. While many scars fade over time and eventually transform to become barely noticeable, many patients experience disruptions to the healing process that cause scars to become red, raised, indented or otherwise deformed.
Many patients are unhappy and embarrassed by the appearance of these scars, especially when they are located in prominent areas, and seek treatment to improve them. We provide comprehensive scar revision services to help patients achieve smooth, clear skin that they no longer have to be ashamed of.
Scar Revision Procedures
Scars are by definition permanent, but certain treatments can narrow, fade and otherwise reduce the appearance of severe or unattractive scarring, which is especially helpful in areas of cosmetic importance such as the face and hands. There are many surgical methods of scar revision, only some of which may be appropriate for a particular type of scar or its location. These include surgical excision, skin grafts, flap surgery, Z-plasty and others.
The best procedure for each patient will vary depending on the location and severity of the scar, as well as the age, overall health and extent of revision desired by the patient. Your doctor will develop a personalized treatment for you after a thorough evaluation of your scar.
Surgical excision is most often used for severe contracture scars, and involves making an incision to surgically remove the scar and surrounding damaged tissue with a scalpel. A skin flap or graft is used to restore the appearance of the skin in the treated area and also improve movement and flexibility that may have been affected by the contracture.
Similar to surface treatments, laser treatments gently remove the damaged layers of skin to reveal new, restored skin underneath, while also stimulating collagen production for further gradual improvements. The precise technology used during laser treatments ensures that only damaged tissue is treated, while healthy surrounding tissue remains intact. Our doctors use the most advanced, state-of-the-art laser technology available to ensure safe and effective scar treatment in even the most prominent and sensitive areas.
Many cosmetic procedures, such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels and skin bleaching can effectively improve the appearance of discolorations and mild surface irregularities by gently removing the top layers of skin and rejuvenating the underlying layers for a restored appearance. Multiple treatments may be needed in order to achieve noticeable results.
Results and Recovery
Most of these treatments are minimally invasive and do not require any downtime. Patients may experience mild swelling, discoloration and discomfort in the treated area for one to two weeks, but will likely experience immediate, noticeable results and will no longer have to worry about the appearance of their scar. Full results may take several months to appear, but are usually long-lasting.
The effectiveness of scar reduction depends on a number of factors, including the nature of the injury, your body’s healing mechanism, the size and depth of the wound, and the thickness and color of your skin.
Call 512.450.1077 to speak with Dr. Robison and Dr. Trussler if you have any questions or comments or to learn more about how we can help you.