Burn care at Research Medical Center

Founded in 1969, the Grossman Burn Center has earned a reputation as an innovative leader in burn care. Many pioneering techniques, which are now standard practice in burn treatment, were developed by founder Dr. A. Richard Grossman.

Grossman Burn Centers are known for their expertise in providing acute and reconstructive burn care in a compassionate, personalized environment. This helps us maximize patient comfort and achieve speedier recoveries with better results.

Features of our 8-bed dedicated burn unit include:

  • Burn victim support programs
  • Community safety and prevention education programs
  • Dedicated burn surgical suite
  • Helipad for rapid transport
  • Outpatient programs
  • Telemedicine services

Burn care team

Together with each patient and their family members, we work to heal burns and chronic wounds. Our specialized burn care team provides individualized burn and wound care in a nurturing, team-centered environment. The diverse collection of professionals that make up our burn care team include:

  • Burn surgeons
  • Chaplains
  • Medical physicians
  • Nurses
  • Nutritionists
  • Pediatric critical care physicians
  • Physical and occupational therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Social workers
  • Specialty surgeons
  • Volunteers

How to treat a burn

We provide an extensive range of burn treatments. No matter the condition, we are here with fast, effective care that improves lives. Depending on the severity, there are several things to do for treating burns before coming to see us or calling emergency personnel, including:

  • Move away from the burn source as quickly as possible
  • Remove belts, jewelry and tight items from the burn area
  • Loosely cover burn with a clean cloth or sterile, non-adhesive gauze after cooling with cool (not cold) water
  • Lay flat and lift burned area above the heart if possible
  • Treat any pain with nonprescription pain relievers such as naproxen, acetaminophen or ibuprofen

Please call 911 immediately if a burn runs deep into the skin, quickly begins swelling, or there is leathery or white skin after the burn.

Rule of nines for burns

Proper burn care begins with assessing the situation. Understanding the severity of a burn can be achieved by determining its size, using what is called the rule of nines.

The rule of nines informs how much surface area a burn occupies on the body by dividing it into percentages that are multiples of nine. In many cases, this is so emergency personnel can determine the proper treatment. The body's surface area can be distributed as such for patients over 14 years old:

  • Arms, including hands, equal nine percent each
  • Back of the body equals 18 percent
  • Front of the body, including the chest and stomach, equals 18 percent
  • Genitalia equals one percent
  • Head and neck collectively equal nine percent
  • Legs, including feet, equal 18 percent each

What to put on burns

When a burn occurs, it is important to act fast. In the moment, it can be stressful figuring out what to do for a burn, including what to do with a burn blister. However, there are many things that can be done right away to get the situation under control, starting with what to put on a burn.

Whether it is a burned finger, burned hand, or burn to the torso, face or genitalia, treating a burn begins with getting it cooled. Before this can be done, remove all clothing and accessories surrounding the burn unless the clothing is stuck to it. Do not remove any clothing caught in the burn — cut around it. If it is a chemical burn, remove all clothing that may contain the chemical.

Use cool — not cold — water to cool the burn. Not using overly cold water or ice is critical because doing so can cause increased tissue damage. Using a hose, sink or shower, cool the burn for at least 10 minutes. If the burn is minor in nature and does not need further medical treatment, clean it with soap, then apply a clean cloth or a sterile, non-adhesive dressing to dry the wound. Do not use anything that could shed fibers, as they can stick to the burn. Change the dressing once a day.

Once the burn has cooled, before bandaging, you may also apply non-fragrant petroleum jellies such as aloe vera, but do not use creams, lotions, oils, or cortisone, as well as household products such as egg whites or butter.

How to treat burn blisters

Knowing proper burn blister care can be critical for effective and efficient healing. If a burn blister forms, it is important not to break it, as burn blisters are the body's way of preventing an infected burn wound. Fighting infection is key how to treat a burn blister, so it is important to leave the blister intact until the burn underneath it heals. Once a burn blister forms, gently clean the area with cool water for about 10 minutes, cover it with a sterile dressing, then, once dry, apply a non-fragrant, petroleum-based ointment.

Depending on burn healing stages, basic first-aid can help with mild conditions, such as a burn blister on a finger, but if the situation is more severe, such as burn blisters on the face or genitals, seek immediate medical attention.

Our burn treatments

No two burns are the same, and we make sure to treat every condition like the unique one that it is. Different burns require different treatments, and we are prepared for just about any burn condition that could come through our doors. If your burn requires the dedicated treatment of the specialists in our burn center, the variety of available treatments include:

  • Biological skin substitutes (bioengineered skin and collagen products)
  • Biopsies (removal of cells or tissues)
  • Compression therapy and wraps (increasing blood flow by strengthening vein support)
  • Debridement (removal of dead, damaged or infected tissue) under anesthesia
  • Homograft skin grafting (taking tissue from a donor) and autograft skin grafting (taking tissue from the patient)
  • Hydrotherapy (use of water to relieve pain and treat burns and wounds)
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (breathing almost pure oxygen to encourage the healing of serious wounds)
  • Negative pressure wound therapy (drawing out fluid and infection from a wound)
  • Plastic surgery
  • Transcutaneous oxygen monitoring (determining the amount of healing oxygen reaching the skin)
  • Topical dressings revascularization (restoring the passage of fluid through the circulatory system or lymphatic system)