Post Burn Surgery
Burns are the most painful and devastating injuries that could affect man. Wounds from burn injury usually result in an unsightly and permanent scar. The scar could cause acute and chronic disabilities particularly in areas of the major joints such as the neck, knee, ankle, elbow, and shoulder. The scar in these areas tends to be thicker and less pliable thus restricting joint mobility and, consequently, causing functional disability. Plastic surgeons often refer to it as post-burn contracture, the most common morbidity or complication after a burn injury. There are several options to manage scar contracture, and they would depend on the maturity of the scar, soft tissue availability around the scar, and the involved joint. The main purpose of all surgical treatments is to release the tension created by the scar contracture over the joint thereby increasing joint mobility. This could be done by a simple Z-plasty, or local flap advancement. But there are cases that would require skin grafting and regional flap rotation to cover the defect after release. The surgery is done either as an out-patient or hospital procedure. Release of contracture would be done under local or general anesthesia depending on the extent/ complexity of the scar. Surgical splints are usually applied after the procedure, and they are removed depending on the technique used by the surgeon. Patients must be aware that some post-burn scars would require a series of operations for complete release. There are also other deformities that could result from burn injury, so feel free to ask you surgeon who must be knowledgeable about them.