Burns and scalding are classified according to their extent and depth as first-, second- or third-degree whereas superficial second-degree burns are also classified as 2A and the deeper ones as 2B. Since the depth of the burn determines the prognosis and the future appearance of the burnt area, only a specialized doctor should estimate and diagnose it. The first-degree burn or scald, similar to a sunburn, is restricted only in the outer layer of the skin (epidermis), the burnt skin is red and in some cases blisters could develop. Here long term tissue damage is rather unlikely. The second-degree burn is deeper and involves the epidermis and part of the dermis of the skin. Concerning 2A burns no surgery is necessary. The burns can be treated with local bandages and ointments and future scar formation is unlikely. In the case though of 2B second-degree burns, an surgical ablation of the burnt skin under anaesthesia is necessary. Artificial skin or wound dressings with human amniotic membrane can be used to cover the defect and ensure a satisfactory aesthetic result. Third-degree burns destroy the full thickness of the epidermis and dermis and may also involve underlying muscles, tendons and bones. Tissue regeneration in this case is not possible, the wounds cannot heal and scars develop. In order to support the wound healing process, the burnt tissue should be surgically ablated (excised) and artificial skin or a skin transplant (for example from the thigh) applied over the wound. A proper evaluation of the burn and a successful and effective treatment plan, predisposes a wide specialization and experience in this field of Plastic Surgery (look under Prof. Sinis). There are two main categories concerning burn treatments: the acute treatment of burns and the secondary treatment measures where the burn or scald consequences are being treated (scar removal, joint mobilization) so that the life quality of the patient can be improved. In our Clinic for Plastic Surgery, we specialize in Burn Surgery and Reconstruction.

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