What to Do to Prevent Scaring on a 11 Month Old Baby from a 3rd Degree Electrical Burn?

Yesterday, my 11 month old baby injured the back of his hand on a moving upright vacum cleaner causing a 3rd degree and 2nd degree burn. Luckily, nothing is broken. We've been keeping it clean and applying Baccitracin. The swelling has decreased. Now the wound looks red and the center looks white. Since babies are resilient, will this leave a permanent scar on his hand? If so, will it ever fade? Is there anything I can do to help minimize the scar? Please help.

Doctor Answers 2

Electrical Burn on Hand

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It is certainly important to keep the skin moist and I generally will recommend applying ointment 6-8 times a day.  Burns are usually treated with a prescription topical ointment such as silver sulfadiazine.  Your child should be under the care of a plastic surgeon with experience treating burns and hand injuries.  Generally, the degree of injury with an electrical burn is much greater that what appears on the surface. The concern here is an injury to the tendons or neurovascular structures of the hand.

Portland Facial Plastic Surgeon

Electrical burn in 11 month-old

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Generally I prefer aquaphor ointment to bacitracin for healing wounds - can be applied a minimum of 2 times daily to keep the wound moist while it is healing.  Once the wound has healed a bit more so there is no oozing or open areas, you might consider the application of a silicone-based product such as Kelo-cote before bedtime to ensure the best long-term appearance of the burn.

I can imagine how you must feel (have a 13 month-old at home).

Bryan K. Chen, MD
San Diego Dermatologist

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