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What is the best way to treat a burn?

Burns are technically tissue damage caused due to heat, over-exposure to the sun, radiation hazards, chemical or electrical accidents. Some burns are minor, which can be treated with home remedies or by applying some medication. However, in case of severe burns, the patients will need hospital admission and surgery. Plastic Surgery for burn victims is a life-saving procedure. Hyderabad Plastic Surgeons (HPS) have an excellent record in saving the lives of many burn victims by performing plastic surgery. In this blog, let us understand the best way to treat a burn.

What are the types of burns, and how do they vary?

Burn are categorised based on the depth of the skin damage. There are times when the burn symptoms will develop in a day or two. There are broadly three categories of burns:-

  • 1st-degree burn: A burn is categorised as a first-degree burn when only the outer layer of the skin i.e. the epidermis, is affected. These burns cause redness and pain.
  • 2nd-degree burn: A second-degree burn is when the first two layers of the skin are affected, i.e. the epidermis and (dermis). The typical symptoms are swelling and red, white or splotchy skin. The patient experiences severe pain, and blisters may develop. Depending on how deep the second layer of the skin got burnt, scarring can also occur.
  • 3rd-degree burn: The fat layer beneath the skin also gets burnt in a third-degree burn. The area affected by the burn becomes black, brown or white and has a leathery look. These burns are so severe that they can destroy nerves, causing numbness.

When to consult a doctor for burn treatment?

The first step in treating a burn is to know when to seek emergency medical assistance. Immediately consult a medical team under the following circumstances:-

  • If the burn area affects the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks, a major joint or a large area of the body
  • When the burn is so deep that it affects even the deeper tissues
  • Leathery appearance to the skin after a burn and if the skin has black, brown or white spots.
  • Chemical and electrical accidents resulting in burn
  • If the patient has difficulty breathing or becomes unconscious.
  • If the burn or blister shows no signs of healing even after a week.

Treatment procedure for burns

Most minor burns are treated with home remedies, and they heal within a couple of weeks. Our skilled doctors at HPS will first examine the skin condition to assess the degree of burns. Then, the patient is admitted to the hospital If the burns cover more than 10 per cent of the body area, are very deep, and are on the face, feet or groin. The doctor will assess the wound and then do first aid followed by wound dressings. Our experienced doctors at HPS goal is to control pain, remove dead tissue, prevent infection, reduce scarring risk and regain function.

If the burns are third-degree burns, the patient will receive treatment at specialised burn centres. The patients need plastic surgery, therapy and good emotional support. Below are the various treatment methods for treating burns:-

    • Fluids to avoid dehydration:- Intravenous (IV) fluids are given to prevent dehydration and organ failure.
    • Pain and anxiety medications:- To relieve the patient from incredible pain, they are given morphine and anti-anxiety medications.
    • Burn creams and ointments:- If you are not going to a specialised burn centre, creams and ointments are applied for wound healing and prevention of infection.
    • IV antibiotics to control infection and a Tetanus shot.
    • Physical and occupational therapy:- Physical therapy exercises are done if the burn area is large and joints are affected. Exercises to improve muscle strength and coordination are also suggested. Occupational therapy helps those who are struggling with daily activities.
  • Surgical and other procedures
  • Skin grafts:- Our HPS doctors do skin grafting in cases of deep burns. The patient’s healthy skin replaces the scar tissue caused by deep burns. If the patient’s skin is not suitable for usage, donor skin can also be used. The two types of skin grafts are:
    • Split-thickness grafts: Only a few layers of outer skin are transplanted.
    • Full-thickness grafts: The entire dermis is replaced by healthy skin. 

A particular skin-cutting instrument known as a Dermatome removes the skin from the donor site. The most often used donor sites are buttocks or inner thighs. The graft is placed on scarred area and held in place by a dressing and a few stitches. Wounds at the donor site are also covered to prevent infection.

  • Plastic surgery:- In case of third-degree burns or severe second-degree burns, reconstruction surgeries are needed. Major organs might have been damaged or deformed. Our HPS expert reconstructive surgeons will perform surgery so that damaged organs regain their function. HPS surgeons also work with the relevant doctors where there is organ damage. The patient might need a face or breast reconstruction.

To know more about the expert burn treatment and care, consult Hyderabad plastic Surgeons – HPS at +91 7675808080 or info@plasticsurgeons.com.