By Emel Gerdaneri • Medical review by Ege Ozgentas, MD on April 03, 2023

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Burn Treatment

Burn treatment or aesthetic burn scar treatment; It is the name given to the procedures performed by Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons for the solution of both aesthetic and health problems such as scar, tissue loss and similar after treatment and post-treatment processes of burns that occur on the skin surface and subcutaneous layers due to various reasons.

Burn Treatment Before & After Photos
Average Cost $ 700
Treatment General or local anesthesia
Recovery Time 1-4 Weeks

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& All About Burn Treatment

First of all it is necessary to draw attention to this important points:

  • Burn treatment means taking care of an acute burn injury. Main purpose of this treatment is maintaining the wound epithelialization as soon as possible. Minor burns may heal spontaneously, on the other hand major burns might be life threatening and require extensive care. The treatment of major burns must be done in hospitals and preferably in burn units. Major burns must be treated by Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons or sometimes by General Surgeons.

  • After healing of acute burn injury, scar tissues occur in the burned areas. The intensity of scars depends on the depth of the burn wound and may be minimal or very extensive. Once the scars occur, they stay for a lifetime. The treatment of burn scars is completely different from acute burn injuries and their treatments should only be done by Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons.

The color and shape of the burn scars show differences according to the depth and intensity of burn injury. Deep burns result in tightness of the skin and surrounding tissues with some shortening.

This condition is called “contracture” in medical language. Other types of scars commonly seen after deep burns are hypertrophic (elevated from the surface), dark colored (red or brown), and itchy scars.

Minor burns may heal with less visible scars. Their scars are usually at the same level of the skin and have mild dark or white color.


Even if only the skin is involved, burns that have affected a significant thickness, always heal with a somewhat visible scar. In other words, even if the most appropriate treatment is applied to a deep burn, almost always a scar will occur with various severity.

Superficial burns usually are not expected to leave scars. On the other hand, if the wound is treated inappropriately even superficial burns may heal with scars.

Deep burn injuries which affect all layers of the skin and deeper layers like the subcutaneous area and muscles are almost always prone to the heavy scars and deformities and they usually will not heal without surgical treatment.

Every operation may create some degree of scarring. It is worth emphasizing again that such burn scars can only be treated by Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons.

If the burn scars are mild, they do not affect the body functions negatively. But they may result in a disturbing appearance. This creates psychological problems that cannot be underestimated.

On the other hand, severe burn scars may cause serious functional problems. For example, they impair the function of the joints, prevent the movements of fingers, hands, arms, and legs, and in the groin area causes difficulties of urination, defecation and sexual activities.

So it creates some kind of disability. It impairs the eyelids and causes visual difficulties. It impairs mouth and lip functions, resulting in uncomfortable eating.

It causes abnormal development of growing bones in children due to tension and severe body image disorders.

Based on the aforementioned facts, it should not be surprising that treating burn scars (and disabilities caused by them) is still considered difficult and, in some cases, impossible.

If the width of the burn scar is not large and there is not much tension in the surrounding skin, this area is completely removed, and the resulting defect is sutured primarily, resulting in a linear suture line.

Although this method sounds good, it is not possible to apply this method to the large scars because large defects can not be closed primarily.

In this case, to close the defect after resection a skin graft should be taken from another part of the body and applied over the defect. That means another scar will be created over this donor area.

burn treatment

In huge burn scars, it is impossible to remove all scars and cover the resulting defects.

In this case some corrections should be made to the original burn scar to change it to a less noticeable state. But it is not an easy task.

Following procedures can be applied to achieve this purpose:

  • Using various laser devices

  • Injecting various drugs into the scars

  • Use of stem cells and some blood products

  • Abrading over the scars (shaving with various tools and light rays)

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Contrary to popular belief, scar reduction treatment should be started immediately after the burn injury has healed. There is no need to wait for a specific time.

Healing of the burn wound means that the skin surface layer is regenerated; that is, the wound becomes touchable by hand without pain or discomfort. In medical language, this is called "epithelialization."

after burn

The newly healed wound is red and elevated. In time, some improvement in this situation occurs spontaneously. However, as mentioned before, as soon as the wound is closed (ie, plasma oozing stops and subsequent crusting disappears) following treatments are applied:


  • Scar reducing ointments

  • Covering the scars with silicone sheets and wearing compressive dressings

  • Using protective splints to prevent contractures in the scarred skin and neighboring joints

This early treatment may take at least months, often years. However, if this early treatment does not provide significant benefit, it is necessary to start the other more effective treatments without wasting time (and not waiting for a certain age).

Burn scars treatment takes much more time compared to the scars of other kinds of  injuries. We can explain it like this:

  • Scar-reducing ointments, silicone, and compression garment treatments should be used for at least months and often over a year.

  • Laser applications, drug injections, stem cells, and injections of substances obtained from blood are performed with an average interval of 2-3 months. These treatments must often be repeated more than twice (or even more than a dozen times).

In other words, burn scar treatment can be expected to continue for years.

It is not necessary to set some formulas or rules in this regard. Briefly:


  • Anyone who has undesirable appearance or discomfort due to the scars of an old burn injury should be treated.

  • In the treatment, the patient's age and the age of the burn scars (i.e. the time passed after the burn wound had healed) are not important and not considered. As soon as the scarring begins, treatment should be started for all people, regardless of the patient’s age and age of the burn scar.

  • All  kinds of burn scars in any part of the body can be treated in some way.

  • Patients who want burn scar treatment should have realistic expectations. Most of the time, it is not possible for burn scars to erase them completely. But in experienced hands, they can be significantly reduced. The patient must be aware of this.

  • The treatments do not show the same effect in every patient. It is not possible to predict in advance in which patient treatment will be more effective or ineffective.

Written on 12/05/2017


Last Update: 20/10/2023

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