According to a report by the American Burn Association in 2016, about 486,000 people received medical treatment for burns. Nearly 10% of those resulted in hospitalizations, with 30,000 people needing care in the hospital burn center.
The good news from those sobering statistics is that the survival rate of those admitted to burn centers is 96.8%. However, surviving is just the beginning of a long arduous road to recovery.
Facts of Recovery for the Burn Victim
Recovery is not easy for the person with severe burns. Rehabilitation begins at the same time as treatment. Each case is unique and depends on several factors, including the extent of the burns, the age of the patient, and the areas of the body that are affected. The first hours are critical for the patient with major burns. Addressing life threatening issues are the first priority.
Those patients experiencing minor burns will have a treatment that focuses on relieving the pain, minimizing the risks of additional trauma, and preventing infection. Minimizing scarring and contracture are also priorities.
There are three layers of human skin: the epidermis, which is the part we see covering the body, the dermis, just below the epidermis, and the subcutaneous tissue or hypodermis. Skin grafts use the epidermis and dermis. There are two different types of skin grafts.
The split-thickness graft is used on large areas. It often looks lighter than the skin around it and usually has a smooth, shiny look. Young burn victims may need to undergo several of these grafts because the skin does not grow in the same way as ungrafted skin. This type of graft uses epidermis and some of the dermis. It is usually harvested from the larger surfaces of the body, such as the back, abdomen, buttocks or the thigh area – either the front or outer region.
Full-thickness grafts use the epidermis and the entire dermis from the donor site. Unlike split-thickness grafts, these are used on smaller areas. The harvested area is closed by pulling the skin together and is then stitched or stapled shut. This type of graft is often used for the face. It blends in well with ungrafted skin and cosmetically tends to look better.
Patience is a Virtue
When it comes to getting a skin graft, you will need to exercise patience and care. You’ll need patience as you go through the healing process. The donor site, as well as the graft area, will need to heal. The donor site will most likely heal fairly quickly, however you can expect the grafted area to heal at a slower rate.
Sometimes skin grafts fail. There are several reasons why this may happen. Your body may reject the graft or infection could cause problems. Too much blood or fluid under the graft will also cause it to fail. If a graft fails, your doctor may suggest you have another one at a later date.
Depending on the extent of the injury, skin grafting may be done in stages and there might be several surgeries over time. It will be important to work closely with your doctor to stay on the road to recovery and avoid setbacks.
The important things to remember are to nurture a positive outlook on your circumstances and to seek out ways to bring joy into your life, even while you endure the challenges ahead. Keep pressing toward the goal of optimal health, believe that you can achieve it and you will.
The law office of Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A is here to help if your injuries were sustained due to negligence. We provide caring, compassionate support to our clients as we pursue avenues to bring justice and resolution to the situation. For years, our clients of the Port Charlotte area have looked to us as caring community members who contend for the rights of those we represent.