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Burn Terminology

No one expects to get thrown into the world of burn injuries, which means burn victims aren’t always equipped with the language necessary to discuss their condition and treatment. At Tampa General Hospital, we can help. As one of only five burn centers in Florida to earn Burn Center verification by the American Burn Association in conjunction with the American College of Surgeons, we care about helping you as much as possible throughout every stage of your treatment. This is especially evidenced by our surgeons, who actively seek out and test the newest, most innovative techniques in burn treatment. You can trust we’re well equipped to help you understand the treatment landscape before you. Let’s start here. Read up on the burn terminology below to get prepared for your healing journey.

Autograft : A skin graft that is 'harvested' from an undamaged area of the patient and transplanted to the burned area

Allograft : A biological dressing used as a covering for a burned area. It is cadaver skin (also called homograft)

Collagen : Insoluble fibrous protein of vertebrates that is the main component of the fibrils of connective tissue.

Debridement : The surgical removal of burned flesh.

Dermatome : A device used to slice tissue from donor sites to be grafted onto burned areas.

Dermis : The vascular inner mesodermic layer of skin. The epidermis is the outer layer of skin and the dermis is underneath that.

First Degree Burn : A mild burn that feels hot, hurts, and reddens. It does not exhibit blistering or charring of tissue.

Graft : To transplant or implant tissue

Hydrotherapy : The therapeutic use of water

Hypermetabolic : Expanding energy and using nutrients at an accelerated pace

Isograft : Homograft between genetically identical or nearly identical individuals

Necrosis : The death of cells or tissues

Occupational Therapy : Therapy that focuses on activities of daily living, such as dressing, eating, bathing, etc.

Physical Therapy : Treatment of injury by physical or mechanical means in order to promote recovery

Pressure Garments : Tight-fitting elastic garments worn to reduce scarring

Second Degree Burn : A burn that produces painful blisters and some superficial destruction of the dermis beneath the burn

Silver Nitrate : A clear compound used as an antiseptic

Skin Graft : A piece of body tissue that is surgically removed and then transplanted or implanted to replace a damaged part or compensate for a defect

Third Degree Burn : A severe burn that destroys the epidermis, and dermis and sometimes other tissue as well

Transfusion : The transfer of fluid into a vein. Often used to give blood to a patient

Xenograft : Grafts taken from a donor of one species and grafted onto another species