If you have sustained
deep partial/deep burns which cover an area larger than
your palm surface, you may require an operation. The surgery
consists of burn wound removal followed by the application
of a temporary or permanent covering.
Surgery can be performed either in the first 3 days or
after 2 weeks from the time of injury. The decision will
be influenced by several factors that need to be taken
A) You have to be well enough to have surgery. Heart or
lung problems, kidney disease, diabetes may get worse
Injury and further treatment will be required to make
you feel better.
B) The risks of anaesthesia and surgery complications
need to be assessed. Children under the age of 12 months
and elderly people have a higher risk of complications.
C) The operation needs to be planned carefully in order
to minimise the possibility of complications due surgery
or anaesthesia. Most burn operations take 3 hours, but
some may be longer.
DO WE SOMETIMES OPERATE ON BURNS IN THE FIRST FEW DAYS?
Deep burns that cannot
heal by themselves are operated on quickly to reduce the
risk of infection and to get the patient out if hospital
as early as possible
DO WE SOMETIMES OPERATE ON BURNS AFTER A COUPLE OF WEEKS?
Burns that heal by
themselves in a week or two do not need an operation.
They may have scars that are better or no worse than after
In patchy burns, some areas may heal and then safely can
be operated on after 2 weeks.
Some patients need a period of preparation for surgery.
(e.g. patients with other medical problems)
CAN WE GET RID OF BURNED SKIN?
consists of removal of damaged tissue and preparation
of the wounds for treatment.
Debridement exposes the true depth and severity of burn
injuries and can be done using one of the following methods:
A) your body will itself get rid of the dead tissue over
a period of time.
B) removal of the dead tissue with a waterjet
C) removal of the dead tissue using surgery (surgical
D) some enzymes get rid of the dead tissue.
Debridement may be painful and adequate pain relief or
anaesthesia may be required.
DOES BURN SURGERY INVOLVE?
Burn surgery involves
A) first stage is removal of dead tissue with a surgical
knife / waterjet;
B) second stage consists of covering the defect made by
removal of dead tissue.
The dead tissue is
removed until healthy living tissue is seen. Usually this
tissue is within or just below the skin. Sometimes the
burn is so deep that other tissues are damaged.
Depending on the extent of burn wound excision, you may
require a blood transfusion afterwards.
The defect left after excision is covered either with
grafts of your skin or with skin substitutes. The best
coverage is given by your own skin.
CAN YOUR SKIN COVER THE AREAS LEFT AFTER REMOVAL OF BURN
The most frequent
method is to take a skin graft with a special instrument
(dermatome). A skin grafting is shaving a thin layer from
an uninjured skin. The area where the skin was taken from
is called the donor area.
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