According to the World Health Organization, non-fatal burn injuries are one of the leading causes of morbidity. Burn wounds require extensive and advanced treatment to promote healing and regeneration of cells and tissue. At RegenQuest, we focus on providing the best wound care for all of our patients, including burn victims, helping to improve healing and promote growth both physically and mentally.
Types of Burn Wounds
First-degree burns are considered superficial, as only the top layer of skin (epidermis) is affected. These types of burns are very painful afterwards, and can take anything from a few days to two weeks to heal. They often do not require medical treatment or hospitalization, unless the area affected is the face or groin, or the patient is an infant or elderly person.
Second-degree burns are often split into superficial and deep:
- Superficial second-degree burns affect the papillary dermis, or the top part of your second layer of skin. These burns are often the most painful to recover from, and can take 2-3 week to heal. They are defined by redness and blistering.
- Deep second-degree burns affect the lower layers of the dermis. Unlike superficial second-degree burns, deep burns can be less painful to recover from as the nerve endings can be damaged. They often look yellow or white, and cause scarring or even require skin grafts. Deep second-degree burns can take months to heal.
Third-degree burns affect the entire dermis, and often look white or brown and leathery. These burns can be painless when healing, as the skin’s pain receptors are destroyed. Third-degree burns can take months to heal, and sometimes never heal fully. They cause severe scarring, frequently require excisions, and might even require amputation of the limb.
Although many people assume the worst burns are classified as third-degree, in reality fourth-degree burns are the most severe. These burns extend past the skin and into underlying tissue, fat, and even bone. They require amputation and can even result in death.
Advanced Treatment of Burn Wounds
When patients experience severe burns, they are initially treated at a hospital or burn center in an attempt to manage the initial damage. This can be via excision of dead tissue, medication, or even amputation. Often, serious burns take time to heal, and can require advanced wound care to treat them. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) has been shown to speed-up the healing process in burn victims at the start of wound therapy and months or even years down the line.
When a person is burned proteins begin to break down, resulting in tissue and cell damage. The capillaries within the burned area are also damaged or destroyed, preventing the surrounding tissue from accessing sufficient oxygenated blood. This can cause cells and tissue downstream of the burn to begin dying, preventing appropriate wound healing while increasing the damaged area. By placing burn victims into an HBOT chamber, their oxygen saturation increases significantly. Increasing blood oxygen levels has shown to significantly promote healing, particularly in cells and tissues that are starved of oxygen. As a result, burn victims will experience less tissue damage or death in areas that were not originally burned, ensuring the affected tissue remains localized in the burned area. Victims of third and fourth-degree burns have a high risk of surrounding tissue being damaged by a serious burn, particularly if the burn was not treated quickly.
Burn victims are very susceptible to infection, as the barrier between the body and the outside world, namely the skin, is damaged or destroyed. By increasing the amount of oxygen in the body, oxygen therapy decreases the likelihood of contracting infection. For second, third and fourth-degree burns, decreasing the chance of infection can significantly reduce the effect a burn has on a patient’s body.
HBOT can also assist wound care in patients with long-term burn wounds. Because oxygen therapy encourages cells and tissues to heal and grow, HBOT can speed up recovery time.
At RegenQuest, we believe that wound recovery and treatment is solely dependent on immediate medical treatment. Instead, wound care requires an all-round approach to healing, including immediate and advanced care. We encourage you to schedule an appointment to find out how our qualified medical team can help you recover.