Many burns can heal on their own, while more severe injuries may require surgery and other interventions to promote healing. The specialists at the William Randolph Hearst Burn Center work together during the most critical stages of the injury to ensure optimal recovery. Treatments needed to effectively treat burn injuries vary from patient to patient but may include the following:
Surgery may be necessary to remove dead skin, graft new skin, and reconstruct the burned area. Large burns or burns to critical body areas often require inpatient treatment. However, smaller wounds can be treated on an outpatient basis.
For patients with significant scarring, plastic and reconstructive surgery is available. Reconstructive burn surgery aims to improve function and the appearance of scars. Surgical and non-operative treatments to repair scar tissue are available.
The intensive care team at the Burn Center use special monitoring equipment to carefully observe the health of burn patients. Our board-certified critical care medicine doctors and nurses are specially trained in managing the overall care of these patients.
A registered dietitian (RD) specializes in the nutritional care of our burn patients and visits with each patient admitted under our care. During the post-burn period, the nutrition needs of the burn patient increase dramatically to aid in healing. The RD evaluates and assesses each patient to determine the most appropriate nutrition plan to provide a high calorie, high protein diet. Education is provided to every patient prior to discharge to ensure they continue to meet these needs after the hospital.
Physical & Occupational Therapy
Rehabilitation is an essential piece of recovery. Working with physiatrists (rehabilitation medicine physicians), burn survivors undergo intensive physical and occupational therapy to regain strength and mobility. Burn rehabilitation treatment may include:
- Therapeutic exercise and manual techniques to restore flexibility and function
- Splinting and management of scars
- Therapy to improve your ability to perform activities of daily living (such as self-care) and your mobility
- Computerized imaging, using target controlled infusion (TCI) to deliver pain medication intravenously
- Custom-made, transparent face masks
- Nontraditional therapies (such as tai chi and yoga)
- Virtual reality and interactive gaming technologies to help you regain function and mobility
The psychiatrists and psychologists at NewYork-Presbyterian offer psychological counseling to burn survivors and their families. Our treatment team includes specialists in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), pain, depression, and sleep disorder.
NewYork-Presbyterian offers hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy, a noninvasive treatment in which the patient is entirely enclosed in a pressure chamber filled with oxygen at a pressure greater than one atmosphere. The combination of high pressure and pure oxygen increases the concentration of oxygen in bloodstream to help promote healing. Learn more about HBO therapy.
The William Randolph Hearst Burn Center features a state-of-the-art hydrotherapy treatment room. Hydrotherapy is used to wash away dead skin and bacteria from burns, which minimizes the risk of infection. Learn more about our other specialized programs.
We offer these specialized groups and programs to support recovery:
Adult Burn Survivor Group: This group meets on the first Monday of each month from 5:30-6:30 PM at the Burn Center. If the meeting falls on a holiday, the group meets the following week. For more information, please call the Burn Rehabilitation Office at 212-746-1573.
Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery (S.O.A.R.©): This volunteer, peer-based support program assists burn survivors and their family members with issues related to burn recovery. The program is offered free of charge. Sessions are scheduled as needed and coordinated by our rehabilitation therapy staff. For more information, please call the Burn Rehabilitation Office at 212-746-1573.