Advice on surgery for burns

Dr. Ed Buchanan, a pediatric plastic surgeon, tells parents what they need to know about pediatric burns
Family Health Tips | Advice on pediatric burns - surgery, emergency protocols and more
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Advice on surgery for burns

A pediatric burn patient is something that we commonly see in the pediatric emergency room. Most burns that we treat are very small, less than 1% of the body’s total surface area. So most of those burns can actually be treated by a pediatric plastic surgeon or a plastic surgeon as an outpatient with frequent dressing changes and returning to the clinic to make sure nothing has changed. There are criteria in which a baby will need to be transferred to a burn center, which takes care of burns specifically, or a pediatric center. These criteria are on the American Burn Center Website, and they essentially have to do with the extent of the burn and the area of the burn. Another thing to consider whenever you have a child who is burned is whether there’s any issue related to child abuse. And that’s something we will always evaluate for in the ER. Another thing to consider when it comes to pediatric burns is there are certain burn patterns that we worry about child abuse for. And if that’s the case, we will have the social worker and the child protective services evaluate the baby or the child. Obviously this doesn’t happen for every child, and there are a lot of pediatric burns that come into the ER, but there are certain patterns of burns that will spark the interest and the awareness of the health care provider to pursue this avenue further.

Dr. Ed Buchanan, a pediatric plastic surgeon, tells parents what they need to know about pediatric burns


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Edward Buchanan

Pediatric Plastic Surgeon & Author

Dr. Edward P. Buchanan is an Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Plastic Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.  He is the Chief of Cleft and Craniofacial Surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital. Before coming to Houston, he trained in Plastic Surgery at Stanford University and did further training in Pediatric Plastic Surgery and Craniofacial Surgery at Seattle Children’s Hospital in Seattle, Washington.  Although he performs all kinds of Plastic and Pediatric Plastic Surgery, his main focus of practice is Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery as well as Craniofacial Surgery.When he is not in Houston, Dr. Buchanan enjoys traveling to countries across the globe to teach and learn from other surgeons.  His most recent trip was to Lilongwe, Malawi, where he was a member of the Texas Children’s Hospital Global Surgical Initiative to help perform and teach Cleft and Pediatric Plastic Surgery.He recently wrote a children’s book entitled, “The Adventures of the Prickly Pear and the Happy Hoglet: Beginning the Journey of the Mental Ninja.” The book is intended to help children begin to develop a healthy self-image so that they can begin their Journey to becoming Mental Ninja’s (  The story was inspired by the children and family’s Dr. Buchanan has cared for over the years. 

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