Escharotomy

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


An escharotomy is a surgical procedure used to treat full thickness (third-degree) circumferential burns. Since full thickness burns are characterized by tough, leathery eschar, an escharotomy is used primarily to combat compartment syndrome. Following a full thickness burn, as the underlying tissues are re hydrated, they become constricted due to the eschar's loss of elasticity, leading to impaired circulation distal to the wound.

An escharotomy is performed by making an incision through the eschar to expose the fatty tissue below. Due to the residual pressure, the incision will often widen substantially.

Physiotherapy input - move limb when bleeding ceases and aim to maximise breathing mechanics.

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