Overview of burns

Overview of Burns: Pathogenesis and Types
Authors: Haley Shade, Amanda Eslinger* Reviewers: Christy Chong, Parker Lieb, Sunawer Aujla, Alexander Arnold*, Yan Yu*,Duncan Nickerson*, Donald McPhalen* Illustrator: Devjyoti Dutta* * MD at time of publication
Contact Electrical Chemical Radiation (excluding sunburn) Less common Burns from any source can result in 3 damage zones
Fire Scald
Zone of coagulation:
innermost zone; maximum damage through necrosis and irreversible tissue loss
Zone of stasis: middle zone; decreased tissue perfusion, potentially salvageable
Zone of hyperemia:
outermost zone; tissue perfusion is increased, damage is reversible
Epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue
Full Thickness (3rd degree burn)
Normal Skin
Epidermis only
Superficial Thickness (1st degree burn)
Epidermis and superficial (papillary) dermis
Superficial Partial Thickness (2nd degree burn)
Epidermis and deep (reticular) dermis
Deep Partial Thickness (2nd degree burn)
Skin and deep tissues, muscle, fascia, nerves, blood vessels, bone
Composite tissue injury
(4th degree burn)
Compartment syndrome
Epidermal layer Dermal-Epidermal Junction
Superficial (Papillary) Dermis
Deep (Reticular) Dermis
Note: The total burn surface area (TBSA) can be estimated using the rule of nines (1st degree burns are not included): Head and Neck: 9% total, Chest and Upper Back: 9% each, Arm: 9% each, Leg: 18% each (front and back),
Abdomen and Lower Back: 9% each, Genital Area: 1%
Refer to Complications of Burns
Burn Shock
Refer to Burn Shock: Pathogenesis, Complications, and Clinical Findings
Sign/Symptom/Lab Finding
Published November 8, 2023 on www.thecalgaryguide.com