Burn surgery generallytakes place in two phases
- Acute burn surgery
- Reconstructive burn surgery
What is burn surgery? In medical terms, Burn Surgery is a term used to describe any surgical procedure that burns the skin. It may be caused by extensive burns, but almost always it burns the top layer of the skin (the epidermis). Burns can also be caused by severe chemical or thermal damage. This skin-threatening condition may require medical intervention and the involvement of plastic surgery specialists. Some causes for a burn are:
Burn surgery (also known as thermal microdermabrasion) has been used to treat a variety of skin-related problems over the years. There are two categories of burn surgery: reconstructive and acute. Acute burn treatment usually takes place immediately following the accident.
Plastic surgeons perform reconstructive surgery on patients who have suffered burns. This type of surgery involves rebuilding the patient’s skin following the accident. Patients who have suffered severe burns will need more reconstructive surgery than others. Burn patients are given an extensive medical examination and the extent of their wound healing is also discussed in detail.
Burn surgery is performed under general anesthesia. If there is to be a surgical site release, then the patient will be anesthetized. The plastic surgeon performs the burn surgery under a local anesthetic since local anesthetics allow better control over the skin.
Before any plastic surgery is done, the following guidelines should be considered: Age, gender, weight, ethnicity, and overall health of the patient must be taken into consideration. Furthermore, the patient must have realistic expectations regarding the results of his/her desired results. This includes expectations regarding the cosmetic appearance of burn injuries and post-operative scarring. Moreover, the plastic surgeon may consider the effect of any medications and vitamins prior to prescribing or performing any treatment.
After assessing the patient’s eligibility, the plastic surgeons then make a short list of potential candidates for the burn center. At the burn center, the surgeons evaluate the extent and nature of the burn injuries as well as the potential for additional surgeries. Furthermore, the burn center can perform the following procedures on burn patients: Cosmetic surgery, wound healing, excision, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, cryosurgery, dermabrasion, skin grafting, skin resurfacing and other skin rejuvenation. Cosmetic surgery is performed on patients with minimal risk of complications and is done to enhance or alter the patient’s appearance; whereas, wound healing procedure is to alleviate pain and discomfort; and, cryosurgery is a technique to use cooling agents and freezing methods to repair damaged tissues, prevent further tissue damage, and improve skin complexion.
In addition, patients are given specific instructions on how to care for their wounds and how to avoid complications such as infection, scarring, and inflammation. While in the hospital, patients are given instructions on physical therapy and the management of their wound. Plastic surgeons will monitor the progress of the wound healing by performing routine assessments and laboratory tests. Some of the tests may include a blood test, wound analysis, CT scan, X-ray, urinalysis, bone scan, and skin biopsy. Other tests such as a urine test and tissue culture will also be carried out to monitor the condition of the patient’s health.
The Burn surgery is performed under general anesthesia and lasts approximately to forty-five minutes. As compared to conventional cosmetic procedures, the burn surgery is minimally invasive. Nevertheless, it is essential that the plastic surgeons maintain strict guidelines on patient hygiene after the surgery. As such, follow up is essential to avoid complications.
The goal of the plastic surgery is to make the patient experience an improved quality of life and proper psychological functioning. Furthermore, it aims to make the patient more aesthetically appealing and confident about the outcome of the procedure. For many burn victims, the procedure is a turning point in their lives because they finally get to look better and be proud of their new look.
Before the surgical intervention, the surgeon will discuss the surgical plan and the operative techniques with the patient. After a careful assessment of the patient’s medical history and the extent of the burn, the surgeon will carefully decide on the surgical plan. After the surgical procedure, the surgical team will do a postoperative check up to make sure that all the pre-operative and post-operative instructions were followed correctly.
The post-operative care requires a series of different processes that involve draining of the accumulated blood, cleaning of the wounds, application of topical and antimicrobial medication, replacement of fractured or discolored skin and scar tissues, repositioning of the burn wounds, and smoothening of the scar tissue. In addition, physicians usually follow wound care guidelines such as limiting the exposure of the patients to dryness, to avoid infections and to minimize complications. Burns can also cause hearing loss or double vision, hence, additional care is needed when treating patients with burns. Although serious burns may lead to death, most burns are mild in nature and can be effectively healed through the help of expert surgeons. Nevertheless, it is always recommended to consult your doctor immediately if you experience any kind of symptoms after the surgery.