Abu Dhabi, UAE: Treating serious burns with reconstructive plastic surgery will not lead to a complete recovery, experts warn.
Dr Sylvia Angerer, acting chief of plastic surgery at Mafraq Hospital, said operating on children was particularly difficult because of the sensitivity of their skin.
Her department often sees newborns with burns covering more than half their bodies.
“In many cases, babies get burned from water [in] the bathtub when parents accidentally turn on the tap and hot water is pouring out,” she said. “The water temperature isn’t regulated and in the summer months even the cold water can get very hot.”
To treat a burn, all of the burnt tissue is removed and this is followed by skin grafts, where healthy skin is taken from another part of the body and transferred on to the burn.
“The problem with children is that they don’t have a lot of skin available,” Dr Angerer said. “In many cases the burns aren’t deep, but because the skin is thin it’s more prone to complications.”
Patients often have to wear a compression garment that is tightly wrapped around the wound for six months to a year to prevent scarring.
Plastic surgery does not mean you will come out looking as good as new, Dr Angerer said. “After a burn accident the patient will have disfiguring scarring no matter how well you operate,” she said.
Recovery time ranges from two weeks to two months.
© The NationalJul 2012