Early excision of major burns in children: effect on morbidity and mortality

J Pediatr Surg. 1985 Dec;20(6):754-7. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3468(85)80039-7.


The advantage of early excision and grafting in the treatment of limited full-thickness burns has been clearly established. The goal of the present study was to evaluate the role of early burn wound excision in major pediatric burns. Of the 470 pediatric burn admissions between 1979 and 1984 that were reviewed, 53 patients met the criteria of deep second or third degree burns greater than 25% total body surface area (TBSA). Of these, 20 had burn wound excision within 7 days (Early) and 33 had delayed excision and grafting (Late). The Early group, despite having greater transfusion requirements (69.4 v 36.2 cc/kg), had shorter hospital stays (35.3 v 49.1 d, P less than 0.05), fewer metabolic complications (20% v 79%, P less than 0.001), and less burn wound contamination (55% v 90%, P less than 0.01) than the Late group. Mortality was lower in the Early group (0% v 12%), but this was not statistically significant. Early excision and grafting are therefore recommended in the care of major burns in children.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burns / mortality
  • Burns / surgery*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Length of Stay
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Random Allocation
  • Skin Transplantation
  • Time Factors
  • Wound Infection / epidemiology