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Medical Care Guide for burn victimsMedical Care Guide
Pressure Garments

Normal undamaged skin is made up of connective issues in the dermis that form a three-dimensional mesh or collagen fibers aligned parallel to the skin's surface. The skin applies pressure against it's underlying layers. Under normal circumstances, the pressure that the skin puts upon the body ensures that injured skin is replaced to its original state without scarring.

When burns destroy the skin and the papillary dermis normal pressure by these layers no longer exists. Without this pressure, hypertrophic scars will form irregularly causing possible deformities. Pressure garments prevent and control the formation of hypertrophic scars by applying counter pressure to the wounded area. Pressure garments aid in reducing the effects hypertrophic scarring there by reducing scarring and deformities.

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It is important that burn patients begin wearing pressure garments while the scar is active and immature. Scar tissue is highly responsive in the early stages so an early application of pressure garments is imperative. Pressure garments should be worn at least 23 hours a day, removing them for bathing and cleaning of the garments only. Most patients will need to wear pressure garments for 12 to 18 months.

The continuous wearing of pressure garments prevents the thickening, buckling, and nodular formations seen in hypertrophic scars. A soft pliable elastic scar develops which allows for normal joint movement. The external pressure applied by the garments decreases inflammatory response and the amount of blood in the scar, reducing itching and prevents collagen from synthesizing. Additionally pressure garments provide protection against injury.

Pressure Garment Care

Pressure garments play a vital role in the proper healing of wounds and reduce the effects of scaring, but for the garments to perform their job properly, they need to be in good condition. Remember if you have any questions or concerns about your pressure garments contact your therapist as soon as possible. Below are a few tips for keeping your garments clean and in good condition.

  1. Discuss with your therapist how to use the garments. Such as how to put them on and remove them correctly. Also, be sure to ask your therapist for instructions on how to care for your garments. Be sure to follow any instructions your therapist gives you, as well as any instructions that came from the manufacture.
  2. Be sure that your garments fit correctly. If your garments do not fit properly or cause you discomfort contact your therapist immediately.
  3. Hand-wash your garments daily in warm water using a mild laundry detergent, such as Woolite. Rinse the garment thoroughly.
  4. Do not ring your garments dry. To remove water, squeeze the garments and then roll them in a towel to remove additional moisture and hang dry.
  5. Do not dry your garments in the sun. Do not put them in the dryer or near a heater. Let them dry at normal room temperature.
  6. Avoid wear and tear whenever possible. Be sure to wear shoes and socks over garments for your feet.
  7. If zippers are not functioning properly or holes appear in your garments contact your therapist immediately.
  8. If you wear your garments in a chlorinated swimming pool or salt water, be sure to rinse them thoroughly.
  9. When using moisturizers be sure to massage the moisturizer completely into the skin. Lotions, creams or petroleum based creams will cause the fabric to deteriorate.




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