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Burn Reconstruction

Unsightly burn scars can’t always be treated with creams alone, and sometimes a little extra help is necessary to rejuvenate the look of your skin. Many people who have scars would like to restore their skin to a more normal appearance, especially if these burn scars are in prominent places like the face. Burn reconstruction surgery can be a great way to restore the skin’s appearance.

Am I a Good Candidate?

Patients who want to minimize the appearance of burn scars or have them removed altogether are ideal candidates for burn reconstruction. Being in overall good health is ideal, and it’s important to have realistic expectations in terms of what this type of procedure can accomplish.

Your Consultation

A consultation will be required before burn reconstruction can occur. At this time, the burn scars will be carefully examined, and the patient will be asked questions regarding their health and their goals for reconstruction. After this, Dr. Cohen will recommend a course of treatment to address the burn scars and will discuss this course of treatment in detail.

How Does Burn Reconstruction Work?

Burn reconstruction involves first removing the dead cells. This process is known as debriding. After this, Dr. Cohen has many options to choose from depending on the burn scar’s size and location.
Burn reconstruction is partially about addressing the tissue forming the scar, which can be done using surgical and non-surgical methods. There are several ways of accomplishing burn reconstruction, including grafts, flaps, non-surgical scar revision, and IPL/laser treatments.

Skin Grafts

People with burn marks are usually suggested to undergo this procedure, in which skin from one area of the body is transferred to another. In most cases, the skin is taken from the thigh or foot and placed onto the existing scars. The thighs and the buttocks make great skin graft donor locations, since most of the time, these areas are hidden from plain sight.

The success rate of this procedure is very high, since the autoimmune risks are minimal. This is because the tissue is autologous, meaning it comes from the patient’s own body rather than someone else’s.

A specialized tool known as a dermatome is used to remove donor skin from an area (usually one that is normally covered by clothing). It usually takes a few weeks to transfer the desired amount of skin to cover the burn marks, but the time spent is worth it, because results typically look very natural.

The skin tone of a graft may not perfectly match that of your skin, but it will even out with time. It is important to keep this in mind.

Burn Reconstruction


Flap reconstruction for burns involves using autologous tissue sections. These sections, called flaps, have their own blood supply, which is preserved through the flap reconstruction process. Unlike skin grafts, flaps can be composed of multiple types of tissue. With flaps, skin regrowth is possible, restoring the appearance of the burned area.

Scar Revision

In cases where non-surgical techniques are preferred, we make use of alternative scar-revision treatments to achieve the desired results. These can involve but are not limited to scar massage and other topical therapies. Tissue expansion may also be considered instead of skin grafting on areas like the neck, shoulder, and face. Scar injections may also be used to address burn scars.

IPL and Lasers

With the latest advancements in technology and plastic surgery, it is easier than ever to get rid of scars. Thanks to our customized IPL and laser treatments tailored to your specific needs, our team can help restore the appearance of your skin.

Post-Operative Care After Burn Reconstruction

Dr. Cohen will provide you with care instructions that you will need to follow diligently after your burn reconstruction. The exact directions will vary depending on the specific burn reconstruction method used. A lot of care and patience is needed during the recovery process.

In the case of surgical burn reconstruction methods, time off may be needed from work. It’s common to experience swelling and bruising in the donor and treatment areas, but these issues will fade. When surgical reconstruction has been performed on the face or neck, these areas will need to be kept elevated to minimize swelling.

Contact Our Office

Interested in learning more about your options for burn reconstruction? Dr. Barry Cohen is a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon who is dedicated to helping you achieve the best results possible. Contact our office to schedule your consultation regarding burn reconstruction in Rockville.