Acute Burn Surgery

Acute burn surgery is performed by a team of trauma surgeons in response to severe injury. It assesses and treats the damaged skin following injury, and may require later reconstructive surgery by a plastic surgeon.

What is it?

Acute burn surgery is a procedure performed by a specialized team of trauma surgeons and is needed immediately after experiencing a severe burn injury. A patient requiring this operation is severely burned and may require plastic surgery as well. This procedure is needed for those with extensive burns or critical area burns.

What should I do to prepare?

For acute burn surgery, there is little preparation that can be taken. The injury occurs and surgery is needed almost immediately. The only preparations that can be made are to possess accessible medical information and to make transportation accommodations for the patient to reach the hospital. Doctors and patients will discuss any allergies and medications the patient takes prior to surgery.

What happens during the process?

Although acute burn surgery is an operation needed for someone with a severe burn, there are still many factors that change the exact surgical process. The surgery begins as pain medication is administered to relax the patient and ease burn pain. Patients are also administered fluids to prevent dehydration, drugs to prevent infection, or even a tetanus shot. There is also the possibility that a skin graft will be taken from healthy skin on the body and used to heal the burned area. The exact nature of the surgery is highly variable depending on the type and severity of the burn.

What are the risks and potential complications?

There are a number of risks and complications that may occur from an acute burn surgery. These risks include, but are not limited to:

  • Infection
  • Low blood volume
  • Low body temperature
  • Breathing problems
  • Scarring
  • Bone and joint problems


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