Burn Reconstruction

Plastic surgeons are the primary physicians caring for burn injuries in Canada.

The most common cause of burn injury in Canada is hot tap water. These burns tend to happen most commonly in young children and the elderly who have a hard time getting out of hot water in a bathtub quickly. 

Many Canadians do not realize that their hot water taps should not be set higher than 120 F (49 C) to avoid burns.

First degree and superficial second degree burns are ‘partial thickness’ burns, which will heal with dressing changes only, as there is still healthy cells deep to the burn to regenerate the upper layers of skin.

Deep second degree and third degree burns (full thickness) most often require surgery to remove the nonviable skin and replace it with skin grafts.

There are dedicated burn units with specialized nurses and plastic surgeons across Canada where burn treatment is carried out.

Case study

When people are burned across joints, the burns may heal by tightening the skin and restricting joint movement. This is called joint contracture.

Joint contracture occurs quite frequently in poorer countries where skin grafting is not available. The girl in the photo above had a joint contracture of her neck and was not able to move her head side to side or up and down and was also unable to pull up her lower lip to close her mouth and smile. She was skin-grafted by Canadian plastic surgeons on a volunteer surgery mission and is seen one week later with fresh skin grafts able to move her head and close her mouth.