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Post Burn Reconstruction

After a severe burn injury as well as leaving burn scars on your skin, some tissues can be damaged permanently and lost. This can have a significant functional impact and/or a significant psychological impact on someone who has already suffered the pain of and recovery from a burn wound. If this has happened you, it is worth seeing if your damaged tissues can be reconstructed. Modern plastic surgery techniques are able to reconstruct or replace some of these tissue losses.

For example, burns to the scalp area can damage hair follicles and result in areas of hair loss (alpoecia). It may be possible to replace the bald area with normal hair-bearing scalp by expanding the normal skin with a tissue expander (saline filled implant placed underneath the skin which is gradually filled with more and more saline to stetch the overlying skin). After the skin has been stretched as much as needed, the tissue expander is removed and the bald area of scalp is replaced by the skin that has been stretched. Hair transplantation is possible in some situations too to correct alopecia. Hair follicles are transplanted from healthy scalp to the affected area to replace those lost. (Ms Nugent does not perform hair transplantation but she can recommend a reputable hair transplant surgeon if this option is suitable for you.)

Another example of an area that can be reconstructed after a burn injury is the breast. If a young girl sustains a severe burn to the chest area before or during breast development (before or during puberty), breast development can be impaired or it may be assymetrical compared to the unburnt breast if only one side is burnt. Releasing a contracted scar may be sufficient on its own to allow the damaged breast to continue developing. If there is more severe breast damage, tissue expansion as described above for the scalp can be done and afterwards the tissue expander replaced with a breast implant or a flap procedure from the back or abdomen similar that done for breast cancer patients can be done. (See Breast Reconstruction section) The nipple area can also be reconstructed in a similar manner to that done for breast cancer patients although the level of scarring present may require some modifications to the technique.

These are just two examples of areas that can be reconstructed after a burn injury. If you have suffered from a similar injury or a burn injury elsewhere on your body, Ms Nugent can offer you her opinion on what can be done to improve or reconstruct this for you.