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Burns, Scars, & Disfigurement

Any serious injury to the human body can result in structural and tissue deformation and destruction causing severe scars and disfigurement. The extent of scaring and disfigurement is dependent in part upon the forces and mechanisms involved. Fires, friction, lacerations and chemicals can cause serious injury and scarring to the skin and organs. Fractures and force injuries can otherwise cause severe distortions of body structures and function.

Skin and Tissue. There are several injuries that can affect and interrupt the skin. These include abrasions, lacerations, avulsions, puncture wounds, and burns. These types of injuries can be the result of many different accidents or trauma. They can occur due to a fall, motor vehicle accident, assault, shooting, stabbing or any other type of accident.

An abrasion is an injury to the skin that is caused by a rubbing of the skin against some type of surface. This can include a fall in which a person's knee rubs against the ground, bicycle accidents or the inflation of an airbag that rubs against a person's face. A well-known type of abrasion is known as "road burn". An abrasion is when the top layer of the skin is pulled or rubbed away, leaving the lower layers exposed. This type of wound does not require surgical repair. Although abrasions only involve the top layer of the skin, these injuries can be quite extensive and painful dependent upon the amount of skin area involved. If a person has significant dirt and foreign bodies imbedded in the wound, cleaning of the wound can be very painful. Treatment can consists of cleaning, topical antibiotic ointment and dressings as needed. Dependent of the size and depth of abrasions, scar can occur, especially with exposure of the area to the sunlight. Exposure to some abrasions may change the pigmentation of the area resulting in a scarred appearance.

Lacerations are wounds that are a resulting of a cut or tearing injury to the skin. Lacerations can range from minor with simple repair to extension involving muscles, tendons and ligaments requiring surgical repair and hospitalization. Treatment of lacerations, again, depends upon the severity of the wound. The area is cleaning and examined for any foreign bodies and then repaired. Lacerations are usually repaired with stitches and occasionally staples. The time the stitches remain in place depend upon the wound type and the wound location. Permanent scarring can occur, again, dependent upon with extent of the wound. Sun exposure to the wound can also change the pigment of the wound.

An avulsion is a loss of tissue, in which an entire section of skin is pulled away. This is often seen in fingertip injuries where a cutting action removes an entire section of the skin. This loss of skin prevents the edges of the wound to be pulled together as a laceration would. Many times, small avulsion areas heal without any surgical repair. If the avulsed area was adequately preserved after the injury, attempts may be made to reattach this section. However, large areas of avulsions usually require significant surgical intervention such as skin grafting.

Puncture wounds/missile injuries occur when an object punctures the skin. This can range from stepping on a nail, being shot, stabbed or assaulted with a sharp object. Other penetrating injuries include nails from a nail gun, high-pressured paint guns, or a rock projected from a lawn mower. Injury to the body caused by a penetrating object depends upon the entry site, the object used and the wound depth. Although puncture wounds usually bleed minimally, they also tend to seal off, increasing the risk for developing an infection. Puncture sites that involve bony areas may result in bone infections or infections of the joint capsules. Missile injuries, especially those with a high velocity, can result in significant injury along the path of the missile. This can result in extensive internal injuries from a single bullet wound.

Any injury to the skin can result in a permanent scar or develop an infection. The extent of the treatment, scarring and possibility of infection is dependent upon the type and extent of the injury.

BURNS. Burns can be a very serious medical problem with many complications and even death dependent upon the extent of the burns and exposure. Burns can occur with direct exposure to fire and flames (house fire), electricity (electrical shock), hot fluids (coffee, soup), hot objects (iron), chemicals (lime) or overexposure to the sun. Persons may also suffer from an inhalation injury as a result of breathing in smoke or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Medical personnel classify the burns sustained dependent upon the extent of the burn. First-degree burns are limited to the skin's surface. You may see some local redness and feel some pain. These types of burns can be compared to simple sunburn where the skin becomes red after sun exposure. Second-degree burns involve deeper layers of the skin. There is usually severe pain and swelling noted with second degree burns. These burns develop blisters and the area is red with a moist appearance. The most severe burn classification is a third degree burn. Third degree burns result in severe tissue damage involving deeper layers of the skin. Often nerves and deeper skin layers are damaged. Although peoples with third degree burns suffer from swelling and skin that appears charred or white, they often do not feel the excruciating pain as peoples with first and second-degree burns may. This is a result of damage to the deeper skin layers and nerves. Peoples can die from third degree burns dependent upon the amount of body area that was involved with the burn.

Dependent upon the type of burn sustained, a persons may require just simple first aid and minor medical treatment for first degree burns to long, complex hospitalizations with intravenous fluids, antibiotics and skin grafts with third degree burns. Burn victims may also develop complications such as infections and breathing difficulty after suffering from burns. Peoples with burns are also at risk for developing pneumonia, shock, permanent scars and vision changes if the eyes were injured with the burn.

Persons involved in fires may also suffer from an inhalation injury. This type of injury is often associated with facial burns. A person with facial burns or who suffered from significant smoke exposure or inhalation of toxic fumes may have injuries to their internal breathing organs such as their throat and lungs. Soot and toxic substances can settle in their breathing structures resulting in a hoarse voice, difficulty breathing, wheezing, black sputum and airway spasms. Inhalation injuries can very quickly cause swelling and spasms in the breathing airway and could result in a life-threatening situation if not treated.

Always get prompt medical attention for yourself or anyone suffering a burn injury. If you, a friend, or loved one wrongfully suffered from burn injuries, you ask why, and take immediate steps to protect your or their legal interest. Consider the suggestions in our accident guide, and call us immediately. We are here to help. At Larry King, P.C., we recognize the unique issues pertaining accident victims. You can call us at (757) I-N-J-U-R-E-D or contract us with this sites Contact Form, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. We are committed to doing the extra things it takes to help our clients.

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We are centrally located to all cities and counties comprising metropolitan southeastern Virginia. This includes, in part, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Hampton, York County, James City County, Gloucester County, Mathews County, Newport News, Surry, West Point, Suffolk, Smithfield, Isle of Wight County, New Kent County, and Williamsburg. We have handled cases throughout Virginia.

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