A burn is a type of injury to flesh or skin caused by heat, electricity, chemicals, friction, or radiation. Depending on depth, burns can affect only the superficial skin as well as involving injury to deeper tissues, such as muscle or bone.
Burn injuries comprise a challenging spectrum of acute, chronic, traumatic, and surgical wounds with a wide range of anatomical locations and depth. They arise as a result of thermal, chemical or electrical insult. There are three zones of tissue damage associated with burns: coagulation, stasis and hyperemia. Management is based on the amount, depth and severity of burns and by the designations of superficial, partial- and full-thickness injuries. Burn wounds are extremely painful, frequently highly traumatic and can lead to permanent scarring, disfigurement or even death. The main objectives of their treatment are to remove devitalized tissue, promote healing, prevent wound infection and graft loss, maintain function of the affected body part, and achieve wound closure as soon as possible.
A variety of dressing types are used to overcome the challenges associated with burns and the scars that subsequently form. The continuing development of materials and techniques now focus not only on successfully healing wounds and reducing scarring, but also on minimizing physical trauma and discomfort during treatment.