Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital



What are burns?

Burns are a type of traumatic injury caused by thermal, electrical, chemical, or electromagnetic energy. Smoking and open flame are the leading causes of burn injury for older adults, while scalding is the leading cause of burn injury for children. Both infants and the elderly are at the greatest risk for burn injury.

What are the different types of burns?

A burn injury usually results from an energy transfer to the body. There are many types of burns caused by thermal, radiation, chemical, or electrical contact:

How are burns classified?

Burns are classified as first-, second-, or third-degree, depending on how deep and severe they penetrate the skin's surface:

Anatomy of  the skin
Click Image to Enlarge

The effects of burns:

A severe burn can be a seriously devastating injury - not only physically but emotionally - and not only to the burn victim, but to the entire family. Persons with severe burns may be left with a loss of certain physical capabilities, disfigurement, a loss of mobility, scarring, infection, nightmares or flashbacks from the traumatizing event, loss of a limb, and/or loss of a friend or family member and possessions in the fire. In addition, severe burns are capable of penetrating deep skin layers, causing muscle or tissue damage, virtually affecting every system of the body.

Treatment for burns:

Specific treatment for burns will be determined by your physician based on:

Treatment may include:

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Dermatology


Top of Page return to top of page