Download MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) Burns and Plastic Surgery PPT 6 Scalds Chemical Burn Radiation Burn Frostbite Electric Burn Injury Lecture Notes
Scalds Electrical Burns, Chemical Burns,
Radiation Burns, Frostbite
Dept. Of Burns & Plastic Surgery
Jv is the volume of fluid that crosses the microvasculature barrier.
Kf is the capil ary filtration coefficient, which is the product of the surface area
and hydraulic conductivity of the capil ary wal
Pc is the capil ary hydrostatic pressure
Pif is the interstitial fluid hydrostatic pressure
p is the colloid osmotic pressure of plasma
if is the colloid osmotic pressure of interstitial fluid
is the osmotic reflection coefficient.
Edema occurs when the lymphatic drainage (JL) does not keep pace with the
Landis Starling Equation
Skin Biology & Response to Burns
? Derived from ectoderm so is capable of
? Keratinocytes proliferate from dermal
appendages leading to re-epithelialization.
? Depleted melanocytes regenerate slowly
leading to pigmentary changes
? Loss of anchoring collagen fibrils (type7) leads
to blister formation
Skin Biology & Response to Burns
? Superficial papil ary
? Deep reticular
? Fibroblasts produce col agen fibrils and elastic
? Dermal appendages lined by keratinocyte derived
epidermal cel s
? Contain capil ary plexus and sensory nerves
? Derived from mesoderm so heal by scarring
? Temperature and duration of contact have a
? 1s at 69OC / 1 hour at 45oC
? Zone of coagulation? Centre of the wound
? Zone of stasis ? At risk area with mix of viable
and non viable cel s along with vasoconstriction
? Zone of hyperemia- Viable cel s with vasodialtion
? Protection of zone of stasis is achieved with
adequate fluid resuscitation, avoidance of
vasoconstrictors and prevention of infection
Depth of Burn
? Burns involving only the epidermis.
? Erythematous and very painful but do not
? Sunburns fit this category of superficial,
? Within 3?4 days, the dead epidermis sloughs
and is replaced by regenerating keratinocytes.
2nd degree (Superficial dermal burns)
? Extend into the papil ary dermis and characteristical y
? Appearance is pink, wet and hypersensitive to touch.
? Painful as uncovering the wound al ows currents of air
to pass over it.
? These wounds blanch with pressure as the blood flow
to the dermis is increased due to vasodilation.
? Superficial dermal burns usual y heal within 2?3 weeks
without risk of scarring and therefore do not require
3rd degree (Deep Dermal Burns)
? Extend into the reticular dermis and general y wil take
3 or more weeks to heal.
? They also blister, but the wound surface appears
mottled pink and white
? The patient complains of discomfort and pressure
rather than pain.
? When pressure is applied to the burn, capil aries refil
? Partial-thickness burns that are predicted not to heal
by 3 weeks should be excised and grafted.
4th Degree (Ful Thickness)
? Ful -thickness burns involve the entire dermis and
extend into subcutaneous tissue.
? Their appearance may be charred, leathery, firm, and
depressed when compared to adjoining normal skin.
? These wounds are insensitive to light touch and
? Non-charred ful -thickness burns can be deceptive as
they may have a mottled appearance
? Must be excised and grafted early
? The depth of scald injury depends on the water
temperature, the skin thickness and the duration of
? Boiling water often causes a deep dermal burn, unless
the duration of contact is very short.
? Soups and sauces, which are thicker in consistency, wil
remain in contact longer with the skin and invariably
cause deep dermal burns.
? Exposed areas tend to be burned less deeply than
? Clothing retains the heat and keeps the liquid in
contact with the skin longer.
Scalds are a mosaic of dermal burns
? A common example is a toddler who reaches
above head level and spills hot water on
himself. His face bears a superficial burn, his
trunk burn is of indeterminate thickness, and
his skin under his diaper has a deep dermal
? Immersion scalds are often deep because of the
prolonged skin exposure.
They occur in individuals who
? Cannot perceive the discomfort of prolonged
immersion (i.e. a diabetic patient soaking his foot
in hot water)
? Those who are not able to escape from the hot
water (i.e. young children, the elderly, or people
with physical and cognitive disabilities).
? Grease and cooking oils cause deep dermal and
full thickness injuries
? Tar and asphalt are `special scald' injuries
because they have to be first removed before the
depth of wound can be assessed
? Tar can be removed by application of petroleum-
based ointment under a dressing.
? The dressing is changed and ointment reapplied
every 2?4 h until the tar has dissolved
? Damage to biological tissue by ionizing
radiation is due to
1) Electromagnetic radiation (e.g. X-rays and
2) Particulate radiation (e.g. alpha and beta
particles or neutrons).
? The severity of tissue damage is determined
by the energy deposited per unit track length,
known as Linear Energy Transfer (LET).
How to measure Radiation Injury
? Electromagnetic radiation passes through tissue
almost unimpeded by the skin and are cal ed low
LET since little energy is left behind.
? Neutron exposure has high-LET, resulting in
significant energy absorption within the first few
centimeters of the body.
? Alpha and low-energy beta particles do not
penetrate the skin, and represent a hazard only
when internalized by inhalation, ingestion or
absorption through a wound.
How to measure Radiation Injury
? The biological effect of radiation is measured by rad
( Radiation Absorbed Dose)
? 1 Gy= 100 rad
? Is 1Gy of X Ray = 1 Gy of Neutron??
? rem(Roentgen Equivalent Man)= dose in
? QF takes into account linear energy transfer so
QF for X ray=1 & neutron=10
? 1 (Sv) Seivert= 100 rem
? So now 1Sv of X ray= 1Sv of neutron
Incidence of radiation injury
The majority of radiation accidents are from
1) Radiation devices such as accelerator
2) Highly radioactive sources used for industrial
3) Radioisotope accidents involving radioactive
materials which are unsealed, such as tritium,
fission products, radium and free isotopes
used for diagnosis and therapy.
How does Radiation Injury Occur?
Radiation accident is defined as
? Whole body doses >25 rem (0.25 Sv)
? Skin doses > 600 rem (6 Sv)
? Absorbed dose > 75 rem (0.75 Sv) to other tissues
or organs from an external source
? Internal contamination >one-half the maximum
permissible body burden (MPBB) as defined by
the International Commission on Radiological Protection
( different for each radionuclide)
? Ionizing radiation causes formation of free
radicles which injure DNA, nuclear and cel ular
? Cel s are most sensitive when undergoing mitosis
so that those that divide rapidly such as bone
marrow, skin and the gastrointestinal tract are
more susceptible to radiation damage.
? Radiation to an organ such as brain or liver, which
has parenchymal cel s with a slow turnover rate,
results in damage to the more sensitive
connective tissue and microcirculation.
? Erythema is equivalent to a first-degree thermal
burn and occurs in two stages.
1) Mild erythema appears within minutes or hours
fol owing the initial exposure and subsides in 2?
2) The second onset of erythema occurs 2?3 weeks
after exposure and is accompanied by dry
desquamation of the epidermal keratinocytes.
? Epilation may occur as soon as 7 days post injury.
? It is usual y temporary with doses less than 5 Gy
but may be permanent with higher doses.
? Moist desquamation is equivalent to a second-
degree thermal burn and develops after a latent
period of about 3 weeks with a dose of 12?20 Gy.
? The latency period may be shorter with higher
? Blisters form, which are susceptible to infection if
? Full-thickness skin ulceration and necrosis are
caused by doses in excess of about 25 Gy
? Physiological effects of whole-body radiation are
described as the acute radiation syndrome (ARS).
? Prodromal symptoms include nausea, vomiting,
diarrhea, fatigue, fever and headache.
? There then fol ows a latent period, the duration
of which is related to the dose.
? Hematopoietic and gastrointestinal complications
fol ow this.
Three Sub Syndromes of ARS-
? Hematopoietic syndrome
Opportunistic infections result from the granulocytopenia and
spontaneous bleeding results from thrombocytopenia.
? Gastrointestinal syndrome
Epithelial damage results in loss of transport capability, bacterial
translocation with sepsis, bowel ischemia and bloody diarrhea.
? Neurovascular syndrome
Due to endothelial injury there is release of NO and other vasodilator
This leads to neurological symptoms, respiratory distress,
cardiovascular collapse and death.
? First aid (airway, breathing , circulation)
? Irrigation with running water until Geiger Muller
counter shows minimum radiation count
? Exposures >100 rem require full evaluation in
? Patients with exposures >200 rem or who have
symptoms of ARS should preferably be sent to
specialist centers with facilities to treat bone
? Burn wound is managed as per the depth of
? Pain is severe and can be treated by opiates
? Radiation injury causes severe nausea and
vomiting which can be managed by
ondensetaron ( safe in children)
? Diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA)
and intravenous administration of DTPA for
workers exposed to plutonium
? Traumatic injury caused by the failure of normal
protective mechanisms against the thermal
environment, resulting in local tissue
temperatures fal ing below freezing
? At risk populations are
Mental y il
Alcohol and Drug Intoxications
Wilderness activities( Treking /Camping)
? Acral areas are typical y affected
Direct Cellular Damage
? Intracel ular formation of Ice crystals
D/t rapid cooling and leads to severe cel injury
Histamine release occurs which causes flushing and
formation of blisters
? Extracel ular formation of Ice crystals
D/t slow cooling and leads to injury to cel
Leads to gradual dehydration of cel as osmotic
? Cold injury causes vasoconstriction
? With rewarming capil ary blood flow resumes but
with presence of microemboli
? Certain areas close to injury wil have complete
cessation of blood flow within 20 min
? The remaining area is at risk due to endothelial
injury and accumulation of inflamatory mediators
similar to Jackson Model
? First-degree injury
It is superficial, without formation of vesicles or blebs.
There may initial y be an area of pal or with surrounding erythema.
Partial dermal involvement with general y favourable prognosis
Associated with light-colored blisters and subsequent epidermal
Has dark or hemorrhagic blisters that evolve into thick, black eschar
over 1?2 weeks.
Injury involves bone, tendon or muscle and uniformly results in tissue
? Rewarming in the field should not be pursued
unless the ability to maintain the affected tissue
in a thawed state is certain
? Injured areas should be mechanical y protected
from trauma because they are typical y insensate
and are at high risk for further injury
? Management of Hypothermia (Temp<32) should
be started before Management of frostbite
? Rewarming is done with the help of water
bath at temperatures of 40- 42oC
? Duration of rewarming is usually 30 min
? Clinically until sensation returns and flushing
in the most distal part of tissue
? Blisters may be debrided as they help in
assessment of the deeper tissue
? Blisters contain high amount of PGF2Aalpha
Non Surgical Management
? Systemic NSAIDs and topical aloe vera to
address the inflammatory chemokines
coupled with systemic penicillin as prophylaxis
against Gram-positive infection
? Pentoxifylline improves red blood cell
flexibility, which may limit microvascular
sludging and thereby diminish thrombus
formation in small vessels.
Role of Thrombolytics
? Use of Thrombolytic therapy can enhance survival
? t-PA only appears to be efficacious within 24
hours of thaw, meaning that this may not be an
option for patients who are injured in extremely
? Additional y, although digit salvage has been
improved with thrombolytics, the actual long-
term functional results of this salvage have not
? Studies of hyperbaric oxygen are limited but
have some of the most promising functional
results of an adjunctive therapy for frostbite.
? One of the early documented uses of HBO for
therapy in frostbite involved four Alpine
mountaineers, all of whom presented 10 or
more days following injury and all of whom
demonstrated good tissue preservation with
? Prevalent clinical practice remains to time
surgery anywhere from 4 weeks to 3 months
following injury, once tissues have clearly
demarcated to an experienced clinical eye.
? The 3D structure of biological proteins depends
on hydrogen bonding and weak Van der wal s
? Chemicals substances can destabilize a protein
and alter its function by changing the pH or
dissolving the lipids thus altering the hydrogen
? Thermal injury also occurs by breaking the
hydrogen bonds and causing protein
Severity of Chemical Burn
? Quantity of Chemical Agent
? Concentration of Chemicals
? Manner and Duration of skin contact
? Extent of penetration
? Mechanism of action
Mechanism Of Action
1.Reduction: Act by binding free electrons in tissue proteins, causing
Eg Alkyl mercuric compounds, Ferrous iron, and Sulphite compounds.
2. Oxidation: Oxidizing agents are oxidized on contact with tissue
proteins. Byproducts are often toxic and continue to react with the
Eg Sodium hypochlorite, Potassium permanganate, Peroxide.
3. Corrosive agents: Corrosive substances denature tissue proteins on
contact and form eschar and a shal ow ulcer.
Eg. Phenols, Cresols, White phosphorus, sodium metals, lyes,
sulphuric acid, and hydrochloric acid, Alkalis .
Mechanism Of Action
4. Protoplasmic poisons: These agents produce their
effects by binding or inhibiting calcium or other organic ions necessary
for tissue viability and function.
Eg. Acetic acid, Formic acid, Oxalic, Hydrofluoric, and hydrazoic acid.
5. Vesicants: Vesicant agents produce ischemia with necrosis at the
site of contact.
Eg. Mustard gas (sulphur and nitrogen), and Lewisite.
6. Desiccants: cause damage by dehydrating tissues and exothermic
reactions causing the release of heat into the tissue.
Eg. Calcium sulphate , Silica gel
Alkalis more dangerous than Acids
? Acids cause coagulation necrosis with
precipitation of protein, whereas the reaction
to alkali is `liquefaction' necrosis allowing the
alkali to penetrate deeper into the injured
? The presence of hydroxyl ions within these
tissues increases their solubility, allowing
alkaline proteinates to form when the alkalis
dissolve the proteins of the tissues.
Removal of the Chemical
? This requires removal of al contaminated
clothing and copious irrigation.
? Irrigation of chemical burns requires protection
of healthcare providers to prevent additional
? Wounds should not be irrigated by placing the
patient into a tub, thereby containing the
chemical and spreading the injurious material.
? Irrigation should be large volume and drained `to
the floor,' or out of an appropriate drain
? Do not use neutralizing agents
? They cause exothermic reactions causing
further thermal damage
? Protect from hypothermia as unwarmed
lavage fluid is being used
? Most of these patients require excision with
grafting as the chemical burn wound tend to
be deeper than they appear
Management of Hydrofluoric Acid
? HF is used as cleaning agent in petroleum
industry, for glass etching and removal of rust
? Acid component causes coagulation necrosis
? Fluoride ion then gains a portal of entry that
chelates calcium and magnesium, resulting in
hypocalcemia and hypomagnesemia.
? Efflux of intracellular calcium down
concentration gradient occurs with resultant
HF Burn Management.....
? Death is mostly due to systemic toxicity
? When concentration of exposure is >20% or
duration of exposure is prolonged Calcium
gluconate injections are to be given topically,
subcutaneously and intra Arterially
? 10% Calcium Gluconate 0.5ml/cm2
? 10 ml of 10% Calcium Gluconate in D5 to be
infused over 2-4 hrs
Vesicant Chemical Warfare agents
? Lewisite, Mustard gas ? Affect all epithelial
tissue including eyes and respiratory
? Cause burning in eyes & throat along with
blister formation on skin
? Dimercaprol is used as Cheliating agent for
? Sodium thiosulfate & N-Acetylcysteine for
management of Mustard gas poisoning
? High Voltage burns (>1000V) are associated
with deep extension and tissue damage like
? Low Voltage(<1000V) cause injury mostly
around the area of contact point
? Current = Voltage / Resistance
Burn severity is determined by
? current (amperage),
? type of current (alternating or direct),
? path of current flow,
? duration of contact,
? resistance at the point of contact
? Alternating current causes tetanic muscle
contractions, which may either throw victims
away from the contact or draw them into
continued contact with the electrical source ? the
? This phenomenon occurs because both flexors
and extensors of the forearm are stimulated by
? However, the muscles of flexion are stronger,
making the person unable to let go voluntarily
Electrical Injury is divided into
1) Joule Heating (J) =I2(Current)?R(Resistance)
? Tissue resistance is from lowest to highest in
nerves<blood vessels< muscle< skin< tendon< fat
? Severity of injury is inversely proportional to the
cross-sectional area of the body part involved.
? Thus the most severe injuries are often seen at
the wrist and ankle
? It is the formation of aqueous pores in lipid
bilayers exposed to a supraphysiologic
? The formation of these pores allows calcium
influx into the cytoplasm and triggers a
subsequent cascade leading to apoptosis
3) Electroconformational denaturation
? The transmembrane proteins change in
polarity of amino acids in response to
exposure to electrical fields.
? Voltage-gated channel proteins were found to
change their conductance and ion specificity
after exposure to a powerful pulsed field
? Low voltage alternating current injury is
usually localized to the points of contact,
? On prolonged contact, tissue damage may
extend into deep tissues with little lateral
extension, as seen in high-voltage wounds.
? These wounds are treated by excision to viable
tissue and appropriate coverage based on
wound depth and location.
? Besides the ATLS guidelines 3 points are to be
1) Identify patients who wil require ECG
2) Fluid therapy for Myoglobinurea
3) Identify patients at risk for compartment
? Due to skeletal muscle injury along with injury
to myocardium it is problematic to use cardiac
biomarkers such as CK-MB
? Non-specific ST-T changes are the most
common ECG abnormality and atrial
fibrillation is the most common dysrhythmia
? Low voltage injury patients normally do no not
require ECG monitoring
Criteria for 24 ECG monitoring
(1) Loss of consciousness
(2) ECG abnormality
(3) Documented dysrhythmia either before or
after admission to the emergency room
(4) CPR in the field.
? Light pink urine indicates myogloninurea
? Recussitation with RL to maintain urine
? Alkalinization of the urine with a sodium
? Osmotic Diuresis with Mannitol
? Damaged muscle, and swel ing in the investing fascia of
the extremity, may increase pressures to the point
where muscle blood flow is compromised.
? Loss of pulses is one of the last signs of a compartment
syndrome, unlike the early loss of pulses occurring in a
circumferential y burned extremity requiring
? A high index of suspicion is paramount for an early
diagnosis, usual y by serial examinations.
? Compartment pressure measurement is general y not
necessary and may even be misleading
? Four compartment fasciotomies of the lower
? Anterior as well as posterior fasciotomies of
the upper extremity are performed in the
operating room under general anesthesia.
? Upper extremity decompression will generally
always include a carpal tunnel release, as this
is usually the location of the most severe
Low Voltage Injuries
? Burns of the oral cavity are the most common
type of serious electrical burn in young children.
? Injuries involving only the oral commissure are
almost never excised, as the extent of injury is
difficult to predict
? Gentle stretching and the use of oral splints gives
good cosmetic and functional results in most
patients, with reconstructive surgery being
reserved for the remainder
Low Voltage Injuries
? Most cases require excision and grafting at the
point of contact only
? Burns to the fingers are also mostly seen in
children as they insert their fingers in power
? Scalp Injury where loss of outer table has occurred
? Costal chondritis is the most frequent complication of
deep chest wal burns, often becoming a source of long
-term morbidity, requiring multiple debridements.
? Abdominal wounds provide the potential for internal
injuries, both directly under contact points and
remotely as the result of late ischemic necrosis.
? Changes in their abdominal examination and/or
feeding tolerance mandates investigation &
? Neurologic complications are relatively common
and include unconsciousness, seizures,
paresthesias and paralysis, which may develop
over several days after injury
? Surgical y treatable lesions, including epidural,
subdural and intracerebral hematomas, may
occur, mandating a high index of suspicion for
altered levels of consciousness.
? Prognosis of many lightning-caused neurologic
injuries is general y better than for other types of
? The pathognomonic sign of a lightning strike is a dendritic,
fern-like branching erythematous pattern on the skin.
? Lichtenberg figures (also known as keraunographic
markings), consist of extravasation of blood in the
subcutaneous tissue which appears within an hour of injury
and fades rapidly, much like a wheal and flare reaction.
? Full-thickness isolated burns on the tips of the toes have
also been reported as characteristic.
? Lightning may cause both respiratory and cardiac stand-
still, for which CPR is especially effective when promptly
This post was last modified on 07 April 2022