NYC Burn Injury Lawyer Discusses New Treatments for Burn Injuries
New Treatments for Burn Injuries
Many Americans suffer serious burn injuries each day when they become trapped in industrial fires, workplace accidents, and major truck and car collisions explain an NYC burn injury lawyer at the Frekhtman & Associates accident law firm in New York. Others incur severe burns when caught in residential fires – or when accidentally touching a hot surface or scalded by hot water. Each year, over 485,000 burn injuries are reported that require some form of medical treatment and approximately 40,000 of them lead to hospitalization.
Even common medical treatments and commercial services can cause burns. Technicians using high-powered X-rays or providing cancer radiation treatments can cause serious skin burns — while improperly used tanning beds/lamps can cause ultraviolet burns.
Before describing some new burn treatments that are currently in the early stages of development, it may prove helpful to review the three most common types of burn injuries and how many burn injuries are now routinely addressed.
First-, Second-, and Third-Degree Burns
- First-degree burns. Only the epidermis or outer layer of skin is affected when someone suffers this type of burn. Although painful, these burns are often simply recognized by their swelling and redness. In most cases – such as a bad sunburn – they will clear up within a matter of days or a week;
- Second-degree burns. Both second-and third-degree burns usually require that the damaged skin be cut away and removed. These wounds can look unusual, with some causing blisters, redness, splotchy skin, and swelling. Others may appear rather moist. Second-degree burns often cause severe pain and noticeable scarring. Both the dermis (second layer of skin) and epidermis (top skin layer) are harmed by second-degree burns;
- Third-degree burns. The fat layer beneath the epidermis and dermis is reached by these deep burns that can make the skin look charred black, white, waxy or leathery. These burns can also cause permanent damage to a person’s nerves. When someone suffers third-degree burns, that person may also experience serious breathing problems.
When Should You Seek Immediate Medical Care for a Burn?
Although a few people who’ve incurred the first-degree burn might seek treatment, it’s usually only necessary when deep second-and third-degree burns have occurred. Some important warning signs that emergency care may be necessary include:
- The person’s burns are affecting the feet, groin area, face, hands, buttocks – or any other large portion of the body;
- Any burn caused by chemicals or electricity;
- All deep-layer burns;
- When burns are clearly causing serious breathing difficulties
While skin graft surgeries are commonly used to treat many severe burns, new treatments are currently being developed that involve using stem cells and lasers.
A New Type of Stem Cell Treatment for Burns
Although FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval might take a few more years, clinical trials and experimental testing are currently being done using a product called the SkinGun. It’s being developed by RenovaCare, a New York biotech firm. One approach to using this “gun” involves harvesting stem cells from a burn patient. Once the stem cells are removed from about one square inch of the patient’s healthy skin, they are then suspended in a water-based solution that’s placed in the device called the “SkinGun.” The doctor or other healthcare provider then sprays this stem cell solution onto a patient’s wound – which can then allegedly help new skin start to grow there at a cellular level.
Researchers involved with this approach claim that about 97% of the harvested stem cells in the SkinGun syringe remain viable, capable of healing the wound more effectively than other means. However, these claims will require many more clinical trials and testing before the FDA may approve this treatment approach.
Laser Light Treatment for Burn Scar Tissue
Burn patients must often battle “contracture” after the end of their initial treatment. This condition is caused by scar tissue losing its flexibility after a bad burn. In many cases, the damaged skin constricts (or contracts) – often limiting a burn victim’s mobility using the scarred part of the body.
Dermatologists and others are currently using laser light to help diminish some of this inflexible scar tissue. When the laser light is aimed directly at this thick tissue, it can help reduce the size of the scar, sometimes increasing flexibility in the area. Laser light may also help reduce the redness of some scar tissue. A few doctors are proposing using both laser light and stem cells together to improve the appearance of burned tissue and scars.
While many of these new treatments remain experimental, they can prove encouraging to both burn victims and their families. New ways of providing additional healing are constantly being discovered every day.