Burns involve an injury to the skin and associated tissue, often caused by fire, chemicals, heat, electricity, the sun or other factors. They can range in severity and are classified as first, second, third or fourth degree burns, based on their depth and the degree of damage to skin tissue. Burns can often leave patients with severe physical disfigurements, depending on the cause and severity of the burn.
Improving the aesthetic appearance of burns can help the patient’s self esteem and prevent permanent scarring. Burn treatments usually involve skin grafting and cosmetic reconstruction, and may be performed in an emergency facility or later on. These treatments also focus on restoring function to the burned skin to reduce the risk of complications such as loss of mobility or a loss of one of the senses.
What are my options?
There are several different treatment techniques used depending on the size, severity and classifications of the burn, which may include skin and tissue grafts, skin flaps, injectable fillers or surgical release. Dr. Trussler will determine which type of treatment is most appropriate based on a thorough evaluation of each patient’s scarring.
Burn reconstruction may be performed as an emergency procedure or later on after scars have formed. Many patients seek reconstructive treatment to improve the appearance of scars that are physically unattractive or disfiguring. Since scars become less noticeable over time, it is often recommended to wait until nine months to a year after the burn occurred to perform reconstruction.
Depending on the severity of the burn, multiple procedures may be needed in order to efficiently restore the appearance and function of the area. There are certain risks associated with burn reconstruction procedures, which Dr. Trussler will discuss with patients prior to their treatment.
The burn reconstruction procedure usually performed through an outpatient surgical procedure that may involve skin and tissue grafts, skin flaps or injectable fillers to restore a more natural appearance, while also correcting any functional problems caused by the scar and improving the patient’s self-confidence as well. Dr. Trussler will develop a customized treatment plan for each individual patient based on their condition and goals for surgery.
Dr. Trussler also treats contractures, a complication of burn scarring that involves a tightening and thickening of the scar that in turn restricts movement of the affected area. Treatment for contracture scars often involves surgery to release the contracture and restore normal movement to the skin. A skin flap or graft may be used to restore the appearance of the skin in the treated area, while also improving movement and flexibility that may have been affected by the contracture.
After Care & Recovery
After burn reconstruction treatments, the area will likely appear swollen for a few days, and patients may experience pain or discomfort as well. The scar area should be kept completely clean and dry to promote proper healing and to reduce the risk of infection. Depending on the size and location of the scar, a splint or compression garments may be used for the first week or so after treatment. Sutures will be removed within one to three weeks.
For some patients, Dr. Trussler will recommend physical therapy after burn reconstruction to help restore function to the affected area(s).
Whether you have a question or would like to setup a consultation, Dr. Trussler and his staff are here to help. Please fill out our contact form, call our office at 512-450-1077 to schedule in directly. Start your journey to not only looking, but feeling better today!