Local Tissue Flaps: Definitive Treatment for Chronic Blisters After Chemical Burns

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Chronic blistering in grafted burn wounds is an infrequently described but severely debilitating complication that can appear after alkali burns and seems to coincide with a delay in initial treatment. Histological studies have concluded that the pathogenesis of chronic subepidermal blister formation in previously grafted burn wounds is related to abnormalities in the basement membrane. Although several reports have described this problem, none have reported adequate treatment for the chronic blistering in previously grafted alkali burns. The authors describe the case of a 30-year-old man in whom caustic soda burns treated with excision and split-thickness skin grafting resulted in chronic subepidermal blistering that failed to improve over the next 2 years. The problem was resolved with full-thickness skin excision and reconstruction with bipedicled fasciocutaneous flaps.

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