JOURNAL ARTICLE

Management of Head and Neck Burns-A 15-Year Review

Travis J Hamilton, Jeromy Patterson, Rachael Y Williams, Walter L Ingram, Juvonda S Hodge, Shelly Abramowicz
Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 2018, 76 (2): 375-379
28963867

PURPOSE: The purpose of this project was to characterize patients with isolated head and neck burns admitted to the Grady Memorial Hospital (GMH) Burn Center (Atlanta, GA).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective case series of patients admitted to the GMH Burn Center with the primary diagnosis of head and neck burns from 2000 through 2015. Demographic data (gender and age) were recorded. Burn details (etiology, mechanism, percentage of burned total body surface area, depth, and associated injuries) were summarized. Patient management and hospital course were documented. Data were collected using a standardized collection form. Descriptive statistics were computed.

RESULTS: There were 5,938 patients admitted to the burn unit at the GMH Burn Center during the study period. Of these, 2,547 patients had head and neck burns and 205 patients met the inclusion criteria. Most (n = 136; 66%) were male, with a mean age of 40 years. The most common burn depth was superficial partial thickness. Flame burns were the most likely mechanism related to full-thickness injury. Approximately one fourth of patients had an associated injury, such as inhalation or ocular injury. Surgical interventions consisted of tangential excision and split-thickness skin grafting, contracture release, excision of hypertrophic scars, and rotational flaps. Mean length of hospital stay for isolated head and neck burns was 4.4 days. Overall mortality was 2%.

CONCLUSION: The results of this study show that superficial partial-thickness head and neck burns are more likely to occur from accidental exposure to flames in men older than 55 years. Owing to an increase in risk and mortality of inhalation injury associated with head and neck burns, airway protection and respiratory management are critical considerations of head and neck burn management.

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