With improving acute burn care, greater numbers of patients are surviving large burns. Meshed skin grafts or cultured epithelial autografts are often required to achieve rapid wound closure, even in areas such as the hands or face. This, plus the lack of suitable donor tissue for reconstruction, is mandating a change in reconstructive principles. Twenty-eight patients surviving ≥80 per cent TBSA full skin thickness burns were evaluated using two specially devised instruments (Inventory of Potential Reconstructive Needs; Donor Tissue Surveillance). A total of 564 reconstructive needs were identified in the 28 patients, an average of 20.1 per patient. There were 265 defects in the head and neck, 143 in the upper extremities, and 156 in the torso/lower extremities. The injured anatomical units most frequently identified were the hand (74), trunk (60), nose/nasolabial fold (48), mouth (46), ankle/foot (42), neck (31) and check (28). The Donor Tissue Surveillance form revealed that the necessary donor tissue was frequently not available, and when available, was often of poor quality. These facts require a different set of priorities for reconstruction of the massively burned patient. No longer can a simple stepwise plan of active function, passive function, and aesthetic needs be followed. The patient and family desires must be combined with a realistic outlook by the entire burn team to determine the most judicious and efficient use of available donor tissue to meet the reconstructive needs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine