Treatment of a severe alkali burn.
The case history of a 20-year-old male patient who sustained an 85 per cent total body surface area alkali burn to his skin, after falling into a caustic lime pit, is reported. Considerable problems regarding the correct estimate of burn wound depth, predominant location of the deepest burn on the posterior half of the body, appropriate wound coverage, and lack of sufficient skin graft donor sites required a complex treatment plan. Excisions to fascia and intradermal debridement were required to achieve an appropriate bed for wound closure. Five per cent mafenide acetate solution (Sulfamylon) was applied to prevent burn wound sepsis. Human allografts and Biobrane were used extensively to achieve temporary wound closure, to provide mechanical protection of freshly autografted wounds, and to prevent desiccation following application of cultured epidermal autografts on to debrided wounds and split thickness skin grafted donor sites. The case illustrates a number of problems associated with the evaluation and treatment of patients suffering severe alkali burns, and demonstrates the implementation of both established and evolving technologies in the management of these injuries.
Erdmann, D; Hussmann, J; Kucan, JO
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