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Prog Pediatr Surg. 1981;14:33-61.

Burn wound management.


In this chapter the local therapy for burns is discussed. Between 400 and 500 children with burns are treated every year at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital in Cape Town, but in only 10% of them do the burns affect over 20% of the body surface. These latter patients are treated in special rooms equipped for intensive therapy. Open and closed methods of treatment for burns used in addition to early excision are compared. The first aim is early skin cover for areas with skin loss preserving as much function as possible and achieving the best possible cosmetic result. Local therapy must be atraumatic to prevent extension of the skin lesion. Bacterial contamination must be prevented as far as possible by keeping the wound clean. Emergency treatment and the course of wound healing up to the third week after the injury using the appropriate dressings are described. Early excision until the fifth day after the accident should be used mainly for burns of the hand, deep second degree burns of up to 10% of the body surface, deep second degree burns over the joints and deep second degree burns of the neck. It must be admitted that the depth of the burn can only be definitely estimated between the seventh and tenth day after the accident. If no autografts are available homografts or grafts from animals are used. The age of the patient, associated injuries, associated diseases and the extent of the burn all play a role in determining the prognosis. Furthermore endogenous bacterial infections, absorption of local therapeutic agents and the state of the surrounding skin do also influence the healing process. Finally the various local therapeutic agents like sulphamylon, silver sulphadiazine and betadine are discussed. A 0.05% solution of silver nitrate is also active against gram-negative infections. Skin transplants are disinfected with a solution containing one third 0.25% acetic acid, one third 3% cent hydrogen peroxide and one third saline. Hydrogen peroxide must not be applied to burns that are healing spontaneously. A classification of burns to help to choose the appropriate local therapy is proposed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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