Burn Injury Physical Factors

Life throws very many things in your way. Everyone once and a while there comes a time when the unexpected things in life take a turn for the worse. Sustaining a burn injury is no fun for any individual, but if you or one of your loved ones suffers a serious burn, it is important to understand what the person is going through.

Burn Injuries are complicated and can be, thus, difficult to understand. Saving the incredibly esoteric medical terminology, there are a few concepts you could familiarize yourself with to better understand burn injuries in general.

There are many different factors that affect the severity of a burn injury. For this reason, two people can be exposed to the same temperatures for the same amount of time and yet sustain very different injuries. Age is probably the most important and influential factor. Individuals under the age of two have significantly thinner skin layers than those in adulthood. As a result, toddlers sustain much more severe injuries in a shorter period of time. This is also the case for individuals over the age of fifty. One you have reached this age, the skin begins to lose elasticity, suppleness and thickness.

Other factors include the time of contact, the nature of the agent of contact, and the location of the burn. Depending on the burning agent, different burn patterns form in the skin. There are areas of the body where the skin is much more sensitive than the rest of the body, and in these places burns penetrate the skin even deeper.

The Lesser Known Burn Degrees

The majority of people realize that there are three main degrees of burns. These are arranged in order of severity as well as what levels of skin are damaged. What many people don’t realize is that there are actually six degrees of burns.

As a refresher, third-degree burns occur when the skin is lost with damage to the hypodermis (the layer under the skin) as well as the muscle underneath. These burn victims will exhibit charring and extreme damage to the dermis.

Fourth-degree burns

Fourth-degree burns result in damage to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments beneath the skin. The result is charring and catastrophic damage to the hypodermis. In some instances, the hypodermis tissue may be partially or completely burned away. This may result in a condition called compartment syndrome. This can threaten both the life and limb of the patient. In order to recover, grafting is required.

Fifth-degree burns

Fifth-degree burns completely burn off the hypodermis and leave blackened muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The fat, nerves, veins, and arteries of the skin have all been destroyed. As a result, the burn area is paralyzed. If the burn does not prove to be fatal, amputation or grafting is required. The decision is frequently based on the amount of bone involvement.

Sixth-degree burns

Sixth-degree burns leave blackened bone and damaged marrow tissue. These burns, when they are not fatal, require amputation.

Recovering from Burn Injuries

Burn injuries are complicated and take a lot of time to heal completely. The process can be painful and hard but, in the end, is worth it.

The first part of recovering from a serious burn is the actual formation of new skin and other tissues around the skin. This is a crucial part of the recovery process because it is the actual repair of the burned area. In addition, the generation of new skin reduces the chance of infection because the body will have restored its natural protective armor.

The process is frequently helped along by skin grafts because new skin is so important. Skin grafts can be made from the person’s own skin or donor skin. In many cases, doctors will use donor skin to cover the wound and then substitute a skin graft from the injured person. This ensures that the skin will not be rejected.

Once the painful and long process of re-growing skin has been completed, the injured patient is not in the clear yet. This new skin is very stiff and doesn’t understand bending or flexing. As a result, a very long rehabilitation process is in order. Depending on what was burned, the process varies in time length.

After the person has regained full use of their burned tissues, the process of recovery may not be done yet. There are a variety of pressure garments that must still be worn to reduce and to prevent scarring. This long recovery process can result in huge medical bills and a large amount of time of lost wages.