Undergoing treatment for severe burns can preserve the function of the hand, wrist, or elbow. At The Hand Center at Crawford Plastic Surgery, Dr. Steven Bailey offers treatment for burns for patients from the greater Atlanta, GA area.

What Are Burns?

Burns occur when the skin is exposed to hot temperatures or chemicals. They result in severe skin damage and the death of skin cells. In the case of minor burns, the skin may heal on its own. Serious burns require treatment to restore function to the hands or upper extremity.

Burn Symptoms

Burn symptoms depend on the severity of the injury. With minor burns, patients experience pain, redness, and blisters. More severe burns may result in a white or leathery appearance, charring of the skin, or exposed muscle or bone. Patients may also experience shock, peeling of the skin, and swelling.

Causes of Burns

Burns can be caused in a variety of ways. Thermal burns are caused by exposure to heat, such as hot water, oil, pans, irons, or hair styling tools; steam; or flames. Burns can also be caused by chemicals, radiation, or electricity.

Types of Burns

Burns are classified by the degree, or depth, of the burn.

  • First-degree burns: First-degree burns are superficial, meaning that they only affect the outer layer of the skin. First-degree burns result in pain and redness, and they heal on their own.
  • Second-degree burns: Second-degree burns are also called partial thickness burns. These burns affect the epidermis (the outer layer of skin) and the dermis (the underlying layer of skin). Second-degree burns cause pain, redness, swelling, and blisters.
  • Third-degree burns: Third-degree burns are referred to as full thickness burns. These burns affect the tissues beneath the skin. These burns often result in a white or blackened appearance. In some cases, the burns result in numbness.
  • Fourth-degree burns: Fourth-degree burns affect the deeper structures of the hand, wrist, and elbow, including the tendons, joints, and bone.

Burn Diagnosis

Dr. Bailey will examine your burn to determine the extent of the injury. Based on the degree of your burn, he will recommend one of the following treatments.

Treatment of Burns

First-degree burns do not typically require professional treatment. Patients should immediately run the affected area under cool water. Home remedies such as milk, honey, or tea can be applied to the burn; patients may also use oral pain medication to relieve discomfort.

Second-degree burns may require wound care with the use of antibiotic ointments or dressing. If large blisters have formed, they may be removed by a medical professional. Occasionally these burns may require surgery to aid in healing.

Patients that have third- and fourth-degree burns should seek immediate medical assistance. The affected area may require a thorough cleaning and debridement. Skin grafts or tissue transfer microsurgery may be performed, and exposed bone may need to be stabilized with wires or pins. Splints may be used to prevent contracture of the tissues, tendons, or muscles. Once the skin graft, tissue transfer, and bone have healed, we may recommend therapy to restore full function to the hand, wrist, or elbow.


Contact The Hand Center at Crawford Plastic Surgery to undergo treatment for burns.