Jewelry Ring-Associated Electrothermal Burn Injuries: A Nine-Patient Case Series

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Ring-associated burns are infrequent, comprising only a small fraction of burn consults and admissions. However, because of the location of these burns and the propensity for circumferential wounds, small burn size may belie the severity of resultant injuries. Herein, the authors present their experience with this potentially severe type of burn. Records from a regional burn center were retrospectively analyzed during a 36-month period. All patients who sustained ring burns were included. Data points included demographics, burn location, need for surgical intervention, grafted area, hospital days (length of stay), percent graft take, complications, and time to re-epithelialization. Nine patients sustained ring-associated burns during the study period, accounting for 1.4% of all patients with burns seen during the same period. Average age was 41 years (range: 29–52 years). Seven (77%) ring-associated burns involved contact with a battery. All injuries were circumferential. Average burn TBSA was 0.07%. Two patients (22%) had third-degree injuries, both of which received split-thickness skin grafts. Grafted area was 4 and 5 cm2, respectively. Average length of stay was 2.8 days. Mean graft take was 99.5 ± 1.5%. Average time to complete re-epithelialization was 12 days. One patient suffered temporary disability. No patients suffered from compartment syndrome. Ring-associated burns are an uncommon source of injury in the burn population. Despite small burn TBSA, these patients are more likely to require split-thickness skin grafts and suffer dysfunction compared with similarly-sized burns in other body regions. Expedient treatment and coordination with occupational therapy should be undertaken to achieve optimal outcomes.

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