Plastic and reconstructive surgery is often considered part of the healing process following a serious burn. Burns can affect appearance and self-esteem as well as muscles and tendons which can lead to restricted mobility. Providing cosmetic benefit and prevention of deformities and contractures are our goals of reconstructive surgery at MidAmerica Plastic Surgery.
Scars left behind from the burn often fade over time. This is why it is recommended to wait up to a year after the injury to revise the burn scars.
No burn scar can be completely removed, but the size and appearance can be dramatically improved. Steroid injections and burn reconstruction surgery, or a combination of both, can improve scar appearance.
Burn reconstruction can be completed in one of two ways. Based on the complexity of the burn, this procedure can be done in the operating room or in the office with local anesthetic.
There are many procedural options for burn reconstruction. Based on your specific needs, you and Dr. Diederich will decide which approach is best. Some of the options include tissue expansion, skin grafts, or skin flaps.
A skin graft is completed by taking healthy skin from one part of the body, the “donor site”, and transplanting it to another part of the body. The healthy skin is usually taken from an area that can be easily covered or hidden by clothing because a scar will develop. Similar to a graft, a skin flap takes healthy tissue from one part of the body and moves it to a different part of the body. With a flap, muscle, skin, or bone is transplanted with the original blood supply to the new area. Finally, tissue expansion is used to help the body produce new, healthy skin. A tissue expander is placed in the area where new skin is needed. Over time, the expander is filled with volume thus stretching the skin and promoting new skin growth. Once enough skin has been created, it can be used for reconstructive procedures.
What to expect after burn reconstruction:
Following burn reconstruction, the treatment area will be sore and swollen for a few days. Recovery is patient and treatment dependent.
Dr. Ryan Diederich is a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in a range of aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery procedures at Mid-America Institute of Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery in Glen Carbon, IL. If you’re looking for a plastic surgeon east of St. Louis, you can schedule a consultation online schedule a consultation online, or call us at (618) 288-7855 to schedule an appointment.
*This article is intended as a guideline only. This is not intended as medical advice. There are no guarantees written or implied from the information presented here. Only a consultation can provide an appropriate evaluation and discussion regarding any procedure. Refer to your physician for medical decision making and advice.