Initial Treatment of Burns of the Hand

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In treatment of burns of the hand, as in treatment of any injury to the hand, the physician must preserve all tissue possible and institute a type of treatment which will permit prompt healing of the wound and early restoration of function. The doctor who first sees and treats a burned hand is given an opportunity never again afforded either to him or to any doctor who may subsequently treat the case. If the burned hand is seen within six or seven hours after injury it is still possible to convert the burned area into a clean wound and prevent sepsis, which will certainly intervene if the wound is left exposed. It is this sepsis which frequently does much more damage to the tendons and small joints of the fingers than the burn itself.

Since the original treatment of a severely burned hand is so important, every physician should know how to apply a satisfactory dressing. If the initial treatment has been adequate, the surgeon to whom the patient is referred for subsequent treatment is not confronted with the problem of a hand stiffened by sepsis which has been permitted to develop because of an unsatisfactory initial dressing.

First and second degree burns of the hand do not present a serious problem because the epithelial covering of the hand has not been entirely destroyed. Almost any type of treatment will result in adequate healing provided, of course, infection is kept at a minimum. In an extensive burn of the hand,. . .



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