The purpose of the reconstructive (plastic) surgery after extensive burns is to correct the cosmetic defects caused by deep lesions of the skin and underlying tissues. The treatment is commenced only after complete healing of scars. As a preoperative preparation, the patient may be recommended a physiotherapy complex, accelerating the regeneration processes. Selection of a particular plastics method depends on the size and location of lesions.
Reconstructive Surgery Options
The foreign clinics widely use the following reconstructions:
- Skin transplantation. Using a special tool, dermatome, the surgeon cuts a healthy section of skin (usually from the buttocks or inner thigh) and transfers the same to the affected area. After transplantation, the transplanted tissue begins to form its own blood vessels. The healing process can take 3 to 6 weeks. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia.
- Flap surgery. Upon deep lesions, the skin is transplanted together with the underlying connective tissue. Using advanced microsurgery techniques, the experts connect the blood vessels of the graft with blood vessels in the transplant area. Scars after flap surgery are generally less noticeable than after skin transplantation.
- Tissue stretching. It is often used for burns of the head, neck and limbs. The surgeon places a balloon under the healthy skin near the lesion, which is filled with saline regularly. Gradually expanding, the balloon stretches the skin. The resulting extra flaps of the tissue are excised and transplanted to the burn site. This approach allows obtaining transplants identical to the damaged skin by color, texture and sensitivity.
- Z-plastic. It is used to remove the small scars on the face and hands. The affected area is Z-cut, and then the tissue flaps are cuts out and moved so that they closed the burn site completely.
- Laser resurfacing. Using the laser, the experts remove the top layer of the skin, which allows to reduce the post-burn deformation visually.
The tactics of restorative treatment is developed individually in each case after a detailed examination of the patient.