What is the Rehabilitation Phase of Burn Recovery?

The rehabilitation phase of burn recovery is an extensive process that can last for years depending on the injury’s severity. Patients can expect to go through various forms of treatment to maximize their ability to function.

Care and Rehabilitation Methods for Burn Patients

Proper burn care and rehabilitation are necessary for a burn patient to return to the highest functioning level. Rehabilitation after burns is not easy and is often a protracted process that includes various stages and treatments needed for the patient to have the most successful recovery.

What are Burns?

Burns are damage to your body’s tissues caused by heat, electricity, chemicals, or radiation. Burns are a common household injury and are often caused by scalding from hot liquids, house fires, and flammable liquids and gases.

Depending on the degree and cause, most people recover from burns without any critical complications. However, those who have more severe burn injuries require immediate burn care and rehabilitation to prevent serious complications.

Types of Burns

Each burn degree is based on the severity of skin damage, with first-degree being the most minor and third-degree being the most severe burn. 

Burn degrees include:

  • First-degree: redness of the skin without blisters
  • Second-degree: cause blisters and some skin thickening¬†
  • Third-degree: Extensively thickened skin with a white-leathery appearance

Additionally, there are fourth-degree burns. This type of burn is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately. They include all of the symptoms of a third-degree burn but extend beyond the skin into tendons and bones.

Burn Symptoms

The symptoms of a burn depend on its cause and severity. Some more severe symptoms require emergency medical care, while others can be treated at home. 

 Burn symptoms can include:

  • Blisters
  • Pain¬†
  • Peeling skin
  • Skin redness
  • Shock
  • Swelling
  • White/charred skin with a leathery appearance

Modern Surgical Treatment Methods

In more severe burn cases, surgery is a necessary step towards full recovery. The objectives of burn surgeries are to stop the pain, remove dead skin tissue, prevent infection, reduce scarring, and regain the area’s function.

Debridement

Debridement is done before consideration of any other surgeries. It involves cleaning the entirety of the burn removing dead or infected skin cells and vascularized bone. Debridement is an essential treatment as it reduces the risk of infection and promotes faster healing.

Skin Grafting

Skin grafting is a burn treatment method that involves removing healthy skin from one area and transplanting it to the burn site. Skin grafts are necessary when a burn extends deep into the skin’s dermal layers, destroying cells that are necessary for the skin’s healing process.

Dermabrasion

Dermabrasion is a procedure that uses either a laser, wire brush, or diamond wheel to refinish the skin’s top layer to reduce the appearance of raised scarring. Dermabrasion is an effective non-invasive procedure that has dramatic and long-lasting results.

Reconstructive Plastic Surgery

Reconstructive plastic surgery improves the function and restores the cosmetic appearance of burn sites. Reconstruction involves altering scar-tissue with both operative and non-operative treatments after the burn wounds have healed. Plastic surgery is suggested for patients who are experiencing long-term adverse effects from burns. 

Amputations

Amputation may be a necessary procedure for patients with extremely severe burn wounds on their legs, arms, hands, or feet. The need for amputation is assessed based on the extent and depth of the burn, also how well it responded to other surgical treatments. It is often a last resort procedure.

Modern Rehabilitation Methods

Severe burns affect many functions and systems of the body, so the need for burn care and rehabilitation is critical for recovery. The rehabilitation phase of burn recovery starts during acute treatment and can last for days or even years, descending on the burn’s severity.¬†

The rehabilitation phase of burn recovery is not a simple process and requires many steps to achieve full recovery. Burn rehabilitation is a complicated and lengthy process that may require years of interdisciplinary efforts to decrease the patient’s post-traumatic effects and achieve long-term functionality. If you or your loved one needs rehabilitation after a burn, contact specialists in Everest Rehab.

Pain Management

Pain management therapy is imperative to achieve the desired outcomes of other treatments. Pain management aims to ease suffering and improve the life quality of patients living with chronic burn pain. To aid the patient in controlling their pain, therapists will use a combination of medication, physical therapy practices, and mind-body techniques.

Physical Therapy

Physical rehabilitation is needed for patients with extensive burn areas, primarily if the burn covers any joints. Physical therapy exercises help stretch the burned skin so the patient’s joints can maintain their mobility. Other activities help to improve muscle strength and coordination lost in the burn areas.¬†

Occupational Therapy

During burn rehabilitation, occupational therapy is involved in every stage of the patient’s recovery. Patients work with their occupational therapist to develop a plan to improve their independence in daily activities. Burn rehabilitation occupational therapy helps patients make home modifications, learn techniques to make tasks more manageable, and support patients during the recovery process.

Nutritional Counseling

A nutritional diet is an essential part of burn care and rehabilitation. Due to burn patients’ hypermetabolic state, they require nutritional support to fulfill their increased caloric needs while avoiding overeating. Generally, patients need a lot of protein when healing because protein is lost through the burns, and muscles break down to produce the energy necessary for healing.

Final Thoughts

Treatment and Rehabilitation of the Body After Burns

Burn care and rehabilitation are undoubtedly a long and strenuous process that must be done to achieve the patient’s optimal long-term recovery. The rehabilitation phase of burn recovery utilizes different goals and methods depending on the burn patient’s injury, age, medical issues, and treatment stage.

Burn Treatment Results

The results of burn care and rehabilitation vary depending on the extent of the wound. However, many patients can regain their independence and return to their everyday life upon completion of treatment. Burn treatment methods aim to control pain, restore function, prevent infection, reduce scarring, and improve the burn sites’ appearance.

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