Assessment of burn depth and burn wound healing potential

Burns : Journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries
Stan MonstreyPhillip Blondeel

Abstract

The depth of a burn wound and/or its healing potential are the most important determinants of the therapeutic management and of the residual morbidity or scarring. Traditionally, burn surgeons divide burns into superficial which heal by rapid re-epithelialization with minimal scarring and deep burns requiring surgical therapy. Clinical assessment remains the most frequent technique to measure the depth of a burn wound although this has been shown to be accurate in only 60-75% of the cases, even when carried out by an experienced burn surgeon. In this article we review all current modalities useful to provide an objective assessment of the burn wound depth, from simple clinical evaluation to biopsy and histology and to various perfusion measurement techniques such as thermography, vital dyes, video angiography, video microscopy, and laser Doppler techniques. The different needs according to the different diagnostic situations are considered. It is concluded that for the initial emergency assessment, the use of telemetry and simple burn photographs are the best option, that for research purposes a wide range of different techniques can be used but that, most importantly, for the actual treatment decisions, laser Doppler imaging i...Continue Reading

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Burn Injury
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