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"Should I have a reconstructive surgery consultation after experiencing third degree burns on my arms?"


I am a 28 year old female and I was hurt in a car wreck some time ago. Is it normal to get reconstructive surgery for cosmetic injuries like this?


Although it is difficult to know the potential benefit of reconstructive plastic surgery without knowing your individualized case or performing an in-person physical exam, the general answer to your question is that it is perfectly "normal" to seek a reconstructive surgery consultation after experiencing a disfiguring injury. Injuries such as third degree burns can have profound psychological and physical effects depending on their severity. It is not uncommon for people to have include self-consciousness, depression and paradoxical feelings of guilt after these types of injuries.

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Furthermore, third degree burns have a tendency towards maladaptive healing, and can produce profound contractures (particularly if they involve the joints) which can cause pain and limit your joint mobility and function. An in-person consultation will be able to address these concerns in the following ways: first, they will be able to address the cosmetic appearance of the wounds and whether techniques such as scar revision or skin grafting would achieve cosmetic improvement. Second, they will be able to identify and address contractures which would benefit from therapeutic release (often paired with a skin graft) to reduce pain and restore normal function. Again, although it is not possible to determine the specifics of your case without knowing further details, I would suggest you seek out an in-person consultation with a reconstructive plastic surgeon, with the knowledge that seeking such a consultation is by all means "normal" and in fact quite common for patients who have suffered third-degree burn injury.

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