Severe burns can affect children more quickly and at lower temperatures than is the case with adults, mostly because of the thinness of a child’s skin. The following information addresses the issues of burn scars and burn scar contractures.
Effects of severe burn injury: When a child experiences a severe or traumatic burn injury, the experience can be devastating to his or her family. Our goal is not only to provide the best functional outcome for our patients, but also to provide the best cosmetic results for burn scar reconstruction.
Scarring: There are many things that affect the final look of a burn scar, such as healing time and whether a skin graft was used. If the burn scar crosses a joint or encases the breast, eye or ear, the scar process might keep the joint from working well, keep the breast from growing or keep the eye and ear from working properly. Scar revisions can help release the scar, allowing for better movement, growth and function.
Scar revision can be as simple as rearranging the skin to using a skin graft after releasing the tissue. Other options in more severe burn scar contractures include the use of a flap, or tissue from another part of the body that contains its own blood supply. Scars can also be painful or itchy or look dramatically different than the surrounding skin. Laser therapy, steroid injections and dermabrasion are some ways to help improve the appearance of a scar. Burn reconstruction requires thoughtful planning and consideration of the child’s growth and growth potential.
For more information about scar revisions, refer to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons website.