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Preventing Scars and Contractures

Preventing scars after a burn:

Scars are thickened marks left after a burn has healed. Most second and third degree burns cause some degree of scarring. Physical therapists will work with your child to prevent or reduce scarring.

Wearing pressure garments can minimize scarring. Children with deeper burns need pressure garments. Pressure garments are tight-fitting clothes to be worn over burned areas to prevent scarring. These must be worn 23 hours per day (taken off only for bathing) for up to two years after the burn.

Your child should have at least two sets of pressure garments, so one can be worn at all times while the other pair is being washed. You should hand wash the pressure garment, rinse, squeeze gently on a towel, and hang to dry. Do not use bleach or put the pressure garment in the dryer, because this will damage the garment. As your child grows, he/she many need to have new, larger garments.

Preventing contractures after a burn:

Contractures occur when the burn scar matures, thickens, and tightens, preventing movement. A contracture is a serious complication of a burn. If your child gets a contracture, he/she will not be able to move the scarred area normally. For example, your child may have difficulty doing normal things like dressing, walking, eating, or playing - depending on where the scar contracture is located. It is important that you let your child do things for himself/herself regardless of how long or hard it might be for them. This will help prevent contractures and help your child become independent and confident.

Most second and third-degree burns do cause some degree of scarring, but there are several things that can be done to minimize scarring and to prevent contractures, including the following:

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