Reconstruction means to rebuild the lost form and function. Burns can destroy the form of a person especially when the face is burnt. It can also cause disfigurement that can cause loss of function. (e.g. burns of the eyelids can cause ectropion and that in turn can cause corneal ulcer and blindness. Burns of the neck cause severe neck flexion and even attachment of the lower jaw to the chest wall. Hand burns may cause claw deformity. Reconstruction aims at rebuilding the lost form and function.Restoration is to bring back the person not just physically but spiritually and emotionally.
The timing of reconstructive burn surgery begins with the treatment of the acute burns itself. It involves methods to prevent many of the ghastly complications with the help of splints and medications. It also varies from patient to patient, depending upon need and stage of healing.
Early reconstructive burn surgery is done before burn scars mature to allow early healing of the wounds. (It takes around six to eight months for the scars of burns to mature.) Late reconstructive burn surgery is done after the scars are mature. Late reconstruction may lead to fewer surgeries and more successful reconstructive efforts.
Burn surgeons perform tissue expansion, free flaps, perforator-based flaps, super charged flaps and skin grafting. Ears may be reconstructed using ones own cartilage or artificial support. Prosthesis are used when there are parts that cannot be reconstructed or when the patient wants early results or to avoid surgery.
Sometimes the mental and emotional damage is greater than the physical scarring in most severely injured burn victims. Seeing and treating the patient as a whole and supporting the family are all secrets of successful burns surgery.