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Cosmetic Procedures and Reconstructive Surgery for Burn Victims

Being the victim of a fire related injury is traumatic to say the least. Unlike other incidents that leave their victims with broken bones, which heal with time, victims of fire are left permanently scarred with a reminder of the horrific event.

While this is painful, people ignorant to your situation may literally add insult to injury by questioning or presupposing what happened when scars are visible. This constant reminder can make a traumatic event even worse.

Instead of resigning yourself to a life of taunt and inquiry, it is important to know that there are some very progressive and effective cosmetic treatments available to burn victims. Reconstructive plastic surgery and skin grafts can help victims to resume a normal and healthy lifestyle.

To note: if damage to the skin from burn wound is severe, it is necessary to undergo a debridement. This procedure will remove dead or unhealthy tissue before reconstructive surgery to avoid the effects of necrosis or gangrene.

What does a reconstructive surgeon do for burns?

Reconstructive burn surgery is a plastic surgery procedure after the initial burn wounds have healed. During burn scar removal, the reconstructive surgeon’s work is focused on improving the function and restoring the healthy appearance of the skin.

Can burn skin be repaired?

Yes. Scars from minor burns can heal by themselves. Deep burns where scarring might be permanent will need to be treated either by skin grafts or reconstructive surgery.

Skin Grafts

Skin grafting is a common form of treatment for burn patients. The skin can either be harvested from another part of the patient’s body, or from a skin donor. The role of skin grafts is to replace skin that has been damaged beyond repair.

WebMD explains that, “There are two types of skin graft: split-thickness grafts in which just a few layers of outer skin are transplanted and full-thickness grafts, which involve all of the dermis. There is usually permanent scarring that is noticeable. […] Recovery time from a split-thickness skin graft is generally fairly rapid, often less than three weeks. For full-thickness skin graft patients the recovery time is a few weeks longer.”

Is skin graft surgery painful?

Most skin grafts are done using general anesthesia, thus you’ll be asleep throughout the procedure and won’t feel any pain. During recovery the area of the graft might feel sore for one or two days.

Tissue Expansion

Tissue expansion takes advantage of the skin’s ability to stretch to accommodate for added girth, as seen in pregnancy or weight gain. The procedure utilizes a balloon expander to stretch out the skin.

This newly created skin can be used to reconstruct any body part(s) that have been damaged, with minimal scarring and a near perfect match in terms of colour and texture. While this procedure is considerably longer than others (up to four months), the benefits of dermal continuity still make this a preferred treatment for certain bodily injuries.

Whatever the unique case may be with the victim of burns, consulting a board certified plastic surgeon will help determine which procedure or procedures may be necessary for restoring the skin to its healthy state.

Do You Have More Questions About Cosmetic Procedure for Burn Victims?

There are a variety of options when it comes to burn scar removal. However, before trying out any of them, you should first talk to an experienced plastic surgeon who will be able to explain to you the pros and cons of each procedure. They will also assess if you are a good candidate for the procedure.

If you’re considering burn scar removal, you need to take your time to choose the right experienced plastic surgeon for your needs. At Royal Centre of Plastic Surgery, we know the decision to go under is an important one, and we aim to make you feel comfortable from our initial consultation through your recovery.  If you want to learn more about your options and the experience, schedule a consultationwith our award winning board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Dickie, and gain your self confidence again!