Burn Recovery

Depending on the severity of the burn injury, burn recovery may be an intensive process. Burn patients who experience severe burn injuries must often undergo treatment such as surgery and physical therapy to restore appearance and function after the injury. For some, this process can last months to years. Burn victims often face extreme physical and psychological pain. It is important for patients with severe burns to receive thorough treatment for burn injuries, as well as ongoing therapy to aid the healing process.

Burn Complications

Due to the potential damage to the body, burn patients are vulnerable to range of life-threatening burn complications. If the patient does not receive adequate care during burn recovery, developing burn complications are likely to delay or prevent full burn recovery. Proper treatment of burn injuries during the burn recovery process is critical for preventing and managing burn complications and optimizing the outcome for patients.

Burn patients are vulnerable to complications including, but not limited to:

  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Low blood volume
  • Hypothermia
  • Respiratory problems
  • Scarring
  • Mobility issues
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety


Burn injury infections are among the most common and dangerous complications of a burn injury. When the skin becomes damaged, the body loses its protection from bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens which cause infection. Additionally, the burn injury treatment may contribute to the development of infection. Potential infections include pneumonia, sinusitis, cellulitis, and urinary tract infection, among others.

Burn Treatment

In order to treat a burned area, burn specialists must first assess the extent of the burn damage. This is typically determined by measuring the total body surface area (TBSA) of the burn. Adult patients who suffer burns over 20-to-25 percent of their body are considered to have major burn injuries. These patients require intensive treatment, including intravenous (IV) resuscitation to restore vital fluids lost through the open wounds.

Depending on the severity of the burn, treatment may include:

  • Debridement, or removal of dead and damaged tissue from the burn site
  • Pain management through oral, topical, and intravenous medications
  • Anxiety management through oral and intravenous medications
  • Skin grafting surgery, which transplants healthy skin onto the burned area

Burn Rehabilitation

After the burn injury is treated and managed, patients will typically require ongoing burn rehabilitation. Burn rehabilitation takes the form of physical, occupational, and psychiatric therapy. Patients with severe burns over bones and joints often experience mobility issues due to limited elasticity of healed skin. Physical and occupational therapy can help patients to regain range of motion and assimilate back into life before the injury. Psychiatric therapy may be needed for patients who experience mental and emotional trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.




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