What do I need to know about this procedure?

This procedure is where burn areas of tissue are removed and may be replaced with a skin graft/s taken from other areas of the body or from other donors.


This procedure will require an anaesthetic.

What are the risks of this specific procedure?

There are risks and complications with this procedure.
They include but are not limited to the following:

General risks:

  • Infection can occur, requiring antibiotics and further treatment.
  • Bleeding could occur and may require a return to the operating room. Bleeding is more common if you have been taking blood thinning drugs such as Warfarin, Asprin, Clopidogrel (Plavix or Iscover) or Dipyridamole (Persantin or Asasantin).
  • Small areas of the lung can collapse, increasing the risk of chest infection. This may need antibiotics and physiotherapy.
  • Increased risk in obese people of wound infection, chest infection, heart and lung complications, and thrombosis.
  • Heart attack or stroke could occur due to the strain on the heart.
  • Blood clot in the leg (DVT) causing pain and swelling. In rare cases, part of the clot may break off and go to the lungs.
  • Death as a result of this procedure is possible.

Specific risks:

  • Blood loss may be considerable during and after the procedure and this may mean intravenous fluid replacement or a blood transfusion.
  • Debridement of the burnt tissue may cause an infection to get into the blood stream and cause serious toxic effects.
  • If the burn needs a skin graft:
    • The graft may not take
    • The graft may not look like normal tissue for some time
    • The colour of the graft may be different from other parts of the skin.

The donor site of the graft:

  • May discharge fluid into the dressings for some time. This fluid may need to be drained away.
  • The healing may be slow
  • The final healed area may be thickened or discolored or painful.
  • With or without grafting, the burn areas may heal with thickening of the tissues and sometimes this may cause contraction of the tissues, resulting in difficulty in movements of the burnt area.