Burn Injury Terminology

At the LaBovick Law Group, we have dealt with many different types of burn victims from house fires and boat fires to gas grill explosions. Almost all victims have heard of the burn scale and know that the more serious burns are 2nd degree and 3rd degree burns. But there is a lot of terminology that is not as commonly used but is very common to burn injury cases.

These Are The Most Important Burn Injury Related Terms, So You Can Identify What Is Going On In Your Medical Records:

  • Autograft: This is a skin graft that is taken or “harvested” from an area on the patient’s body and then is transplanted to the area that is burned.
  • Allograft or Hemograft: This is really cadaver skin. It is called a  “biological dressing.” They used the skin from dead people to cover the burned area and give the natural skin time to heal. The cadaver skin is usually preserved and living tissue but will die and literally fall off the patient. This is far less painful to the patient than peeling non-biodegradable wrapping off the wounds.
  • Collagen: All vertebrates have this fibrous protein fluid in their bodies. It is insoluble and is the main component of connective tissue in the body.
  • Debridement: Removing burned and dead skin by either surgical or chemical means.
  • Dermatome: In burn technology, the dermatome is a kind of knife used to slice off the skin at the donor sites so it can be grafted onto the burned area site. In chiropractic and neurologic terms, the dermatomes are areas of the body and how they are innervated.
  • Dermis: This is the inner vascular mesodermic layer of the skin. It is covered by, and beneath, the epidermis, which is the outer layer of skin.
  • First-Degree Burn: The mildest of burn degrees. Includes skin that feels hot, has pain, and is most often red. Cannot exhibit blistering or charring of tissue, or it would be more severe.
  • Graft: Any transplanted or implanted tissue.
  • Hydrotherapy: The use of water as a therapeutic tool.
  • Hypermetabolic: Metabolic process is the energy expending process of the body. Hyper is moving quickly or at a high rate of speed. Therefore, this is the expanded use of energy by using nutrients to help heal the body at an accelerated pace
  • Isograft: This is the use of genetically identical skin grafts between two individuals who are identical or at least nearly identical.
  • Necrosis: Death of the tissue or the cells in the body.
  • Occupational Therapy: Therapy that is focused on helping to train the individual to accomplish “activities of daily living,” such as dressing, eating, bathing, etc.  It is the practical side of physical therapy.
  • Physical Therapy: Therapy that is focused on strength, movement, range of motion, and other mechanically sound needs of the body.  It is used to train the body to regain those lost attributes in order to promote recovery
  • Pressure Garments: Special clothes or wraps that are tight-fitting and elastic, designed to reduce scarring and comfort the skin.
  • Second-Degree Burn: This is the middle step in degrees of burns and has two levels, the partial-thickness burn, and the full-thickness burn.  This burn produces painful blisters and sometimes also has partial destruction of the lower level of the skin, called the dermis.
  • Silver Nitrate: An antiseptic that is used in burn cases.
  • Skin Graft: Tissue that is surgically removed from one part of the body and transplanted or implanted into the damaged part of the body.
  • Third-Degree Burn: The most severe degree of burn. It destroys the entire epidermis (upper layer of skin) and most if not all of the dermis (the lower layer of skin). Many times this type of burn will also harm the musculature and even bone tissue. It is a horrible injury.
  • Transfusion: Used to identify the movement of foreign fluids into the body, usually through a vein. The most often use for the term is in giving blood to patients.
  • Xenograft: A skin graft that is removed from a donor and grafted onto the burn victim.