Every intervention after burn injury affects the scar worn for lifeProfessor Fiona Wood AM
Burns are a global health issue and a chronic disease. They can devastate individuals, families and communities due to the physical, psychological and social impacts of the injury. And profoundly affect quality of life.
A burn is more than skin deep
Burns are a life altering event. They cause immediate and long-term traumas to mind and body and are arguably the most painful, unique and complex injury a human can suffer.
Each injury evokes an individual, unique and whole-of-body response.
There are approximately 11 million burn injuries globally each year, leading to 300,000 deaths.
Statistically burn injuries are a significant cause of death and disability and place a considerable financial burden on health systems.
Whether it is a hot liquid scalding injury to a child or a horrific injury caused by fire, explosion or vehicle accident, the impact of a severe burn can last a lifetime with many having to deal with the physical and emotional effects every day of their lives.
Recovery can be a long term, complex and challenging journey.
Of all outcomes following burn injury, scarring is the most complex and has the most profound impact on quality of life.
Depending on severity, the consequences can be devastating
- long periods of hospitalisation, multiple surgeries and severe pain
- permanent disfigurement
- loss of mobility, functionality and independence
- emotional, psychological and social trauma
In addition to the obvious damage done to skin tissue, even in a modest burn the impact of the injury is not restricted to the site of the burn itself.
Changes occur to the heart, bones and muscle, leading to potential long lasting health issues.
In addition, changes occur to the functioning of the bone marrow as well as to other systems of the body, such as the immune and nervous system.
Our challenge is to minimise the devastation caused by scarring and to discover what influences the effect the hidden damage has on
- the skins capacity to heal
- the development and maintenance of scarring
- additional long term health issues.
Only with this knowledge can we truly unravel the mysteries of burn injury and address the problems associated with the functional, psychological and cosmetic aspects of burn scars, ultimately improving the quality of life.
Find out about Our Approach to this challenge.