Reconstructive surgery is essential to repair wounds resulting from burn injuries. It is a surgical procedure that replaces lost or damaged tissue with healthy tissue or skin grafts to restore the function of the body part affected by the injury. Reconstructive surgery aims to restore normal anatomy as close as possible to its original composition.
Burns can cause severe damage to the skin, underlying tissues, and organs. These injuries can result in scarring, disfigurement, and loss of function. There are two types of burns: first degree (smaller) and second degree (larger). The most common types of burns are scalds, fire-related burns, chemical burns, electrical burns, and radiation-related burns. Burns usually require immediate medical attention.
To explore what burn reconstructive surgery is available, let’s first explain burn surgeries and their two main types.
What Is A Burn Surgery?
Burn surgery is a surgical procedure used to remove dead or damaged tissue caused by a burn. The surgery is usually performed on the patient’s chest, back, or limbs.
Burn surgery can be done in various ways. It can be done using local anesthesia and sedation or local and general anesthesia. In the latter case, the surgeon will use an incision to make an opening in the skin to get access to the burned area and remove any dead tissue.
There are two main types of burn surgery: acute and reconstructive.
Acute Burn Surgery
Acute Burn Surgery is a surgical procedure that removes the burned skin and underlying tissues to treat severe burns. It is usually done in the emergency room, operating room, or intensive care unit. The most common type of acute burn surgery is an escharotomy, which includes cutting through the burned tissue to remove it.
The principal goal of this surgery is to stop further damage and allow for healing of the wound by removing dead tissue and preventing infection from spreading through the removal of damaged skin layers.
Acute burn surgery is the first response once a patient is admitted to the hospital. They are the ones that quickly administer the surgery to ensure that the patient survives the damage.
Burns that affect a significant portion of the body mass must be treated in verified burn centers. So they first have to be bandaged and then transported to burn centers to give a more appropriate surgery for the situation. However, for minor burns, your local hospital is capable enough to handle them.
Reconstructive Burn Surgery
Once the wounds from the burns have healed, patients can now opt for reconstructive burn surgery, which plastic surgeons provide.
Reconstructive burn surgery is not just for cosmetic purposes; they also help restore normal bodily functions in the affected areas. They will use operative and non-operative treatment to achieve their goals in treating the affected areas. Achieving previous anatomical functions and form will take quite a while.
The relationship between the plastic surgeon and the patient will last for quite a while. Reconstructive surgery is not a one-and-done deal, and it will require several operatives and non-operative treatments that happen over months or even years. It depends on how the burns caused much damage.
For example, treatments for scar tissue can take several months to take full effect. Even then, new scar tissues can appear long after the injuries have healed—this especially happens on young patients who are still growing.
What Are The Benefits Of Reconstructive Burn Surgery?
Surgery cannot remove every possible trace of burns, and our modern techniques are still somewhat limited. However, you will still benefit from reconstructive burn surgery since it can restore previous motor functions and make scars less and less visible. Although, in some cases, bodily movement is not entirely fixed, your surgeon will help you enough that you gain your movement independence back.
If you have any facial scarring that causes problems on your eyes, nose, lips, and hair loss, your surgeon can also have it fixed. Skin discoloring, thickness, and wideness can also be improved through operative or non-operative means.
If You Need Reconstructive Burn Surgery
The first step is discovering the right surgeon, and it sounds easy enough, but it’s hard. A tip would be finding reputable surgeons around that have plenty of satisfied patients. Check their before and after photos from previous patients; this will give you an idea of how they do their work.
When you find the right surgeon, aim to establish a thorough communication hotline. Not in a literal sense, but what I am saying is that you should communicate your goals. You and your surgeon should have a common understanding of what you want out of the surgery.
Every patient is different, so your surgeon will also choose a unique path suitable for you.
Types Of Reconstructive Burn Surgeries
Techniques used for reconstructive burn surgeries can differ from case to case. However, here is what you can typically expect:
Skin grafting is a surgical procedure in which one part of the body is removed, usually healthy skin tissue, and replaced with healthy tissue taken from another part of the body or a donor.
Bone grafts are typically made from a person’s own bone or another donor’s bone. The graft is then placed in the affected area and held in place with screws or plates that are screwed into the bones around it.
Flap surgery is a surgical procedure that involves the creation of a skin flap using tissue taken from other parts of the body. It is used to cover an area of skin where there is a defect or injury, such as a burn.
Surgeons create a flap of skin from another body part, such as the abdomen. The flap can then cover the damaged area and heal it over time. The purpose of this surgery is not just cosmetic but also functional—it can help prevent infection and allow for better healing.
In reconstructive burn surgery, tissue expansion can increase the size of an area that was burned and reduce scarring. The skin is stretched and pulled over a frame using sutures placed at regular intervals. This process can be painful, but it allows for faster healing; surgeons will provide pain killers to ease the pain.
Reconstructive surgery for burns is a complicated process that takes aesthetic and good medical know-how. If you are interested in reconstructive surgery, make sure to contact our surgery center, Cache Valley Facial Plastics. We offer services that aim to fulfill your goals and needs.