Scalp burns present as functional and aesthetic problems. The line of management depends mainly on the depth of burn wound and the presence or absence of underlying bone involvement.
We demonstrate the differences between thermal and electrical scalp injuries regarding depth and management.
Records of all burned patients admitted to Hilla General Teaching Hospital between April 2004 and June 2006 were reviewed. Ten patients with electrical scalp injuries were identified and compared with twenty patients with thermal scalp burn.
The incidence of calvarial bone involvement was 100 % in electrical scalp injured patients while all patients with thermal scalp burn were partial thickness (bone free) during the study period. The mean age was eighteen years for the electrically injured patients (ranged from 14 to 30 years) and four years for the thermally burned patients (ranged from 2 to 8 years).Treatment was achieved with early bone debridement and immediate local scalp flaps coverage for electrical scalp injured patients while most of thermal scalp burned patients were healed spontaneously.
Debridement of the electrically injured scalp with flap coverage is advisable to be performed with in 3rd to 5th day after the injury rather than waiting for the settlement of the progressive necrosis, the known unique effect of electrical current.