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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2012 Aug;130(2):349e-358e. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e318258d530.

Acute burn care.

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  • 1IWK Health Center, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.



After studying this article and accompanying Supplemental Digital Content, the participant should be able to: 1. Explain current burn-prevention strategies and criteria for referral to a burn center. 2. Summarize the current advances made in the critical care of acute burn patients. 3. Outline the recent developments in burn depth assessment and burn wound dressing technology. 4. Describe the common psychosocial aspects of postburn rehabilitation.


Burn patients require interdisciplinary care in which the plastic surgeon plays a prominent role. Appropriate referral, assessment, treatment, and posttreatment supports are essential to achieving favorable outcomes following burn injury. The authors reviewed the current literature on epidemiology, prevention, referral criteria, critical care, wound assessment, wound dressings, and psychosocial aspects of burn injury. Recent advances in burn care are highlighted and have been made possible through ongoing collaborative epidemiologic, clinical, and basic biomedical research. A systematic interdisciplinary approach to the evaluation and treatment of acute burn injuries is pivotal to providing patients with the greatest chance of functional recovery. Plastic surgeons treating burn patients must remain current in a wide variety of areas, ranging from critical care to psychosocial rehabilitation.

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