Burn Scarring and Trismus

Burn Trismus is caused from the scarring following a burn to the face, head and/or neck. The limted jaw opening of trismus is a result of the burn scarring, which can be one of three types: Keloid, Hypertrophic or Contracture.

Hypertrophic scares are thick raised scars limited to only the injury site. They are also red and raised, but should not expand beyond the wound site and should impove over time.

Keloid scars are an overgrowth of scar tissue that expands from the injury site. Keloid scars are red or pink and are the result of extra collagen production from the wound. Keloids are tough, thick, and rigid, and will continue to grow after the wound has healed and beyond the injured area. Keloids scars are know to recur after they have been treated.

Contractures are a tightening of the skin that can affect the muscles, tendons, and tissue below. Contractures are caused when normal elastic tissues are injured and replaced by inelastic fibrous tissues.

Becuase of their rigid nature, any of the three scare types can lead to trismus and limited opening of the jaw if the injury is located near the joint.

Treatment

  • Pressure Garments and Therapy - Works to minimize scarring.
  • Gel Applications - fatty, lotion, Steroid, etc.
  • Exercise Therapy - Helps (See OraStretch press system for jaw stretching, Post-surgical therapy for face and neck exercises)
  • Dermabrasion - Reduces scar tissue, smooths skin, restores function
  • Skin grafts - Surgical Procedure to transplant healthy skin from patient to replace scars or cover burn area. (Tissue expansion can also be used)
  • Nutrition - Burn patients have increase protein, vitamin, and caloric needs for healing.
  • Scar massage
  • Heat (Cold) Therapy

Resources

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