Most parents never imagine that their child could suffer a severe injury when they are still quite young. However, sometimes even the most careful and cautious parents find themselves in just such a situation. If your child has recently suffered from severe third or even fourth degree burns, you are likely, and understandably, concerned about their health and well-being now and for the future. Burns not only affect children in the short-term but can have significant long-term impacts as well, both on the cosmetic appearance of the skin and on the way the body functions. Get to know some of the treatment options available for your child recovering from pediatric burns so you can be sure you are doing everything you can to get them the care they need.
Stem Cell Therapy
Once your child receives their initial medical treatment and is essentially clear of any immediate danger to their life after sustaining severe burns, the focus of treatment shifts to helping the skin tissue heal and minimizing scar tissue as well as restoring full function to the areas of the body directly impacted by the burns. One of the treatment options available to help with that process is stem cell therapy.
Stem cell therapy is specifically used to help regenerate and rebuild muscle tissue in burn victims. Full or partial thickness burns go through all of the layers of the skin and impact the other underlying tissues, namely the muscles. Stem cell therapy essentially uses what could be called "starter cells" from the patient's own body (or donor stem cells) to regenerate both muscle and skin tissue.
Healthy stem cells are basically a cellular blank canvas in that they can form into any type of cell necessary in the body. In the case of pediatric burn victims, stem cell therapy could potentially help to reduce the development of stiff scar tissue and instead lead to the regeneration of healthy skin tissue. Similarly, this therapy can help the muscle tissue underneath rebuild as well.
Pediatric Plastic Surgery and Skin Grafts
While early interventions such as stem cell therapy and wound care are important, your child will likely need surgery to help reduce scarring or remove and replace damaged tissues. One of the most common treatments for pediatric burns is skin grafts. Skin grafts are essentially skin transplants, but instead of the skin coming from an outside donor, it comes from your child's own body.
The surgeon will remove an area of skin from one part of the body (generally one that is less commonly visible) and carefully place the skin over the burned area. This transplanted skin will reattach and continue to grow in its new location.
There are also other pediatric plastic surgery options to help your child recover from their burns. If your child had significant burning on their head or face, for example, a pediatric plastic surgeon could help with facial reconstruction, particularly with the nose, ears, and lips that may have been impacted. This will help your child feel more like themselves and more normal as they continue to heal and grow into adulthood.
With these recovery treatment options in mind, you can be sure you know what to expect from your child's continued burn care and recovery and what treatment options are available to them. Talk to doctors at hospitals like Shriners Hospitals for Children – Cincinnati about your options.