What are the Treatment Options for Burn Patients?

Parts of the Midwest are experiencing dangerous heat waves with heat indexes in the 120s, which means now is a perfect time to conclude my talk about burns. The treatment of severe burn patients has expanded greatly in the past decade or two. Podiatrists are trained in skin grafting and other plastic surgery concepts of burn care. However, it is best to receive your care from a burn center if it covers over 20% of your total body surface.

Said burns comprising 20% or less of your total body surface area are usually treated by excision and skin grafting. The most recent medical literature says to graft these wounds instead of excising the burned tissue and letting the wound fill in naturally with time. Grafting results in fewer and less painful debridement, less scarring, and a faster return to walking.

If the skin excision only goes down to fat domes, then graft healing can be expected between 14 and 18 days. If the epithelial (skin covering) region is still intact, then healing can be expected to take 3 weeks. Deeper burns can take up to six weeks to heal.

Surprisingly, the post-op course is not bad for skin grafts. The latest protocols say to wrap in an unna boot (a dressing that applies moisture and compression) followed by normal ambulation four hours later. Patients can be discharged from the hospital on the day of surgery.

Like all surgeries, skin grafting may not be the course of treatment recommended for every burn.  Here at Cast a Foot Podiatry in Hempstead, we can evaluate a burn below the knee. General surgeons, plastic surgeons, or burn centers are also available for burn care.


Nicole M. Castillo, DPM 

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