It hurts to get burned. Often, the more severe the burn, the more it hurts. In order to make as full a recovery as possible, medical treatment is often necessary.
It is important for burn injury patients to get emergency treatment. That treatment should include stopping the burn from progressing any further. Burns can affect a personís breathing and circulation so first responders and doctors should carefully monitor each victim. Once the patient is stabilized, doctors should begin to assess the damage done by the burn and decide on the next course of treatment.
After the patient has been stabilized, doctors will begin treating the burn injury. Doctors will initially treat the burn with bandages to protect against infection, to make the patient more comfortable, to put the affected areas in a good position for healing and to collect drainage from the wounds.
The burned areas are then often elevated to reduce swelling and pressure. Pressure garments are also sometimes used to help prevent scarring.
Skin grafting is a surgical procedure that is used to treat partial thickness and full thickness burns. The treatment involves removing the burned skin and replacing it with healthy skin.
If possible, the healthy skin comes from an area of the burn victim that has not been affected by the burn injury and that is not usually seen. The buttocks and upper thighs are the most desirable places from which to get the healthy skin. Sometimes skin is taken from more than one donor area and a mesh is created to fix the burned area. Surgeons use a special instrument that is set to a uniform depth to shave off a layer of healthy skin. If the depth is not too deep then surgery is not required in the area from which the healthy skin was taken. However, deeper depths may need to be surgically closed.
There are options available if there is not enough healthy skin on the burn victim to create a skin graft. One option is to use a skin bank or skin donor. This works in much the same way as blood banks and blood donors. The donated skin is tested to make sure that it is healthy and likely to be compatible with the patientís body. There is also a newer procedure where living skin cells from the burn patient can be grown into skin in a laboratory setting and then grafted on to the patientís body.
Skin grafts usually reduce a patientís stay in the hospital and improve the look of the burned area when it has healed. When skin grafts are used after good emergency burn care the burn victim has the greatest change of the best recovery possible.