The Use of Glabrous Skins Grafts in the Treatment of Pediatric Palmar Hand Burns.
BACKGROUND: An often overlooked, yet useful, technique in the treatment of palmar hand burns is the use of glabrous skin grafting, particularly in dark-skinned individuals. Pediatric palmar burns are a particularly unique subset of burns. The typical split-thickness or full-thickness skin grafts leave a notably different skin texture and pigmentation. It is also known that the psychological aspects of a pediatric burn can be quite burdensome for a child as he or she progresses through childhood and adolescence. For a dark-skinned patient the placement a standard full-thickness skin graft in a nonpigmented palm provides for a constant reminder of a traumatic event. We report a case series of pediatric patients who were managed with glabrous skin grafting from the plantar aspect of the foot.
METHODS: A retrospective review of palmar skin burns requiring grafting at a single pediatric burn center experience over a 2 and a half year time period was performed. Seventeen patients were identified. Our treatment algorithm for deep partial thickness burns first relies on a combination of operative and nonoperative measures to expedite the demarcation of the burn injury. If the burn is full thickness in nature or if a lack of progression of healing is identified within the first 14 days of injury, then skin grafting is recommended. Our technique for performing the graft is described.
RESULTS: The average age at time of surgery was 2.05 years (6 months to 6.8 years). Fourteen of the 17 patients had darker skin types (Fitzpatrick Type III-VI) and identified themselves as either Hispanic or African American. The average size of the area requiring skin graft after debridement was 0.94% total body surface area (0.5%-2.0%). Of the patients that were not lost to follow-up, 1 patient required additional grafting after developing a finger contracture for splint noncompliance. Aesthetically, the wounds went on to heal with an excellent pigment match and an inconspicuous donor site.
CONCLUSIONS: In the management of deep-partial or full-thickness palmar skin burns in the pediatric population that require grafting, the use of plantar glabrous skin grafts offers a reliable option for coverage. The aesthetic and functional results are improved over standard techniques.