Techniques for skin reconstruction after burns

Skin reconstruction after a burn is possible by means of different techniques. The most commonly used is partial skin grafting of the patient’s own skin, although dermal regenerators have been available for some years.

Depending on the depth of the burn, the skin will regenerate itself from the skin appendages. If these have been damaged, it is necessary to cover the burn with a skin substitute. Although the most commonly used in plastic surgery are the patient’s own partial skin grafts, for the last 15 years there have been dermal regenerators that help to reconstruct the dermal part of the skin, which is the important part because it provides elasticity, resistance and quality to the skin. This burn reconstruction technique is used in functionally and cosmetically significant burned areas and also in the treatment of burn sequelae.

Skin coverage

When someone suffers a burn, the damage to the skin causes the loss of its properties. Therefore, what the surgeon tries to do is to recover these properties by means of a new skin covering that replaces the injured skin. This coverage can be temporary or definitive. Temporary coverage are temporary dressings or skin substitutes, until the burned area heals by 2nd intention or by the use of autografts, dermal regenerators or skin cultures, when the burn is more severe and can not heal by 2nd intention.

Burn reconstruction techniques

There are different burn reconstruction techniques.

– Skin autograft: This is the most commonly used technique. It consists of obtaining grafts from the patient’s own skin. The disadvantage is that these grafts leave a small scar in the area where they are obtained.

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If the burn is so deep that there are no remains of dermis or fat and there is exposure of tendons, bone or cosmetic areas, other types of burn reconstruction techniques must be used.

– Dermal regenerator: It is a type of material developed by tissue bioengineering that allows the organism to regenerate a dermis very similar to the original one.

– Classic reconstructive surgery: It is based on the use of tissue flaps, which can be free and require microsurgery, pedicled and island, based on a vascular pedicle.

The duration of the reconstruction process depends on the initial complexity.

Burn reconstruction aftercare

On the one hand, local care must be carried out, consisting of scar care, hydration, creams that regulate scarring such as rosehip, silicones and pressotherapy. On the other hand, it is essential in many cases to carry out a good rehabilitation therapy and physiotherapy for the physical and functional recovery of patients.