Severe burn injuries almost always lead to extensive scarring. Unlike the wounds themselves, scars can last a lifetime. Yet they can be equally painful on an emotional level – especially when they lead to permanent disfigurement.
Why Do Scars Form?
Scarring is an essential part of the natural healing process. Our skin is comprised of a thick layer of skin, called the dermis, and a thinner outer layer of skin, called the epidermis. Damage to the outer layer of skin is healed by rebuilding the tissue, and in these instances, scarring is slight. When we damage the thick layer of tissue beneath the skin, healing becomes more complicated. In these cases, our bodies lay down collagen fibers (a protein which is naturally produced by the body). These fibers create scars – that is, a patch of skin that has a different look, texture and composition than the surrounding tissue.
Three Common Types Of Scars
Not all scars are the same. Burn injuries can create several types of scars, including:
- Keloid scars: These scars result from an overgrowth of tissue. They typically expand beyond the site of the injury. Generally red or pink in appearance, Keloid scars can darken over time.
- Hypertrophic scars: These scars are similar in appearance to Keloid scars. However, hypertrophic scares do not extend beyond the site of the original injury.
- Contractures: A contracture scar develops when normally elastic skin becomes inelastic due to a serious burn injury. The scar permanently tightens the affected skin. It may also impact the underlying muscles and tendons, limiting mobility and even damaging nerves. Contractures may require physical therapy or surgery.
The type and severity of the scar depends on many factors. To some extent, our genetic predisposition affects our tendency to develop scars. The severity and location of the injury also plays an important role in the scarring process.
Severe scars may require reconstructive or cosmetic surgery. However, these options may not be immediately available, as it can take up to two years after a burn injury for the scarring to finally stabilize.
The Psychological Impact Of Scars
Scarring can take an extreme emotional toll on burn victims. As with any disfiguring injury, scars impact the way we look at ourselves. They also affect the way others perceive us.
Scars are permanent reminders of the underlying trauma that led to the burn injury. Every time you see your reflection, you may find yourself reliving the horror of the accident and its aftermath.
Award-Winning Legal Representation For Burn Victims
If you or a loved one has suffered the devastating toll of a serious burn injury, contact the award-winning attorneys at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger in San Francisco, California. We rank among the nation’s top-tier personal injury firms. Our track record of multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements serves as tangible evidence of our commitment to securing justice for injury victims across the country.
Our lawyers understand the devastating physical, financial and emotional impact of burn scars. You can count on us to pursue a full financial recovery that addresses all aspects of your injury and its effect on your life.
Get started with a free initial consultation by calling (415) 981-7210 or sending us an email.