Surgery for burns is typically performed to remove dead or damaged tissue, known as debridement, and to close the wound. The type of surgery that is performed will depend on the severity of the burn and the location of the burn on the body.
- Debridement: This is the process of removing dead or damaged tissue from the burn wound. This can be done surgically, using a scalpel or scissors, or non-surgically, using special dressings or enzymes. Debridement is done to prevent infection, promote healing, and reduce scarring.
- Skin Grafting: Skin grafting is a surgical procedure in which healthy skin is taken from one part of the body, called the donor site, and transplanted to the burn wound. This can be done with autografts, which are taken from the patient's own body, or with allografts, which are taken from a cadaver or a living donor.
- Tissue Expansion: This is a procedure that is used to stretch the skin around a burn wound, allowing the wound to be closed with the patient's own skin. A balloon-like device is inserted under the skin near the burn wound and gradually filled with a saline solution over time. This causes the skin to stretch, allowing the wound to be closed with a skin graft.
- Z-plasty: This is a surgical procedure in which the skin is rearranged to reduce scarring. It is often used to treat scars on the face, neck, or other areas where scarring is particularly noticeable.
- Excision: This is the process of cutting out the burn wound and suturing the edges together.
It's important to note that the recovery period after burn surgery can be long and will depend on the severity of the burn and the type of surgery that was performed. Physical therapy is often needed to regain function, and range of motion and to prevent contractures. It's essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a burn injury to minimize the damage, prevent infection, and promote healing.