Practical Application for Plastic Surgery in Burn Patients
At bottom, plastic surgery is about helping people. Every day, it helps patients feel better about the way they feel about themselves and their lives. This goal may be achieved through purely aesthetic procedures, functional modifications, or a combination of both. Nowhere is plastic surgery more needed than in patients who have suffered a traumatic burn event.
Skin grafting describes the procedure when skin is taken from one area of the body and placed in another. During a graft, skin is removed from an area usually hidden by clothing. The graft is then placed on the burn area and held in place by a compression dressing and stitches. Recovery times vary from procedure to procedure, but generally take from a few weeks up to several months. Skin grafts are not the only procedure associated with burn wound recovery.
Here are some ways plastic surgery can help:
Microsurgery allows for missing appendages, such as fingers, to be re-attached. The surgeon uses a microscope to repair very small nerves and arteries damaged by burns or any other traumatic event.
Tissue expansion is a medical procedure that actually farms skin by enabling your body to develop skin specifically for use in reconstruction. Basically, extra skin growth is achieved by inserting an expander much like a balloon under the skin near the repair site and gradually filling it with a saline solution. Eventually, this causes the skin to stretch like the skin stretches during pregnancy. The benefits of tissue expansion are manifold. It follows that skin color and texture are a near perfect match for the area and results in minimal scarring.
Recovery from a severe burn can be as traumatic as the wound itself. However, it does not mean that a burn patient cannot resume and enjoy life again. Advances in modern medicine, particularly in the science of plastic surgery, can help people overcome tremendous odds to feel better about themselves and resume a normal life after a traumatic experience.
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