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Burns occur in children all too frequently. Approximately 80,000 individuals are hospitalized each year for burns in the United States, and one third to one half of them are younger than the age of 18. Because the treatment of burns demands many hours of wound care from nursing staff and possibly one or multiple surgical procedures,hospitalization costs associated with burn care are extremely high. Follow-up visits for therapy and for fitting of pressure garments (to control scarring) can last for months and even years, and simple or complex reconstructive surgical procedures may be required. The disfigurement and impaired function suffered by many burn victims may be lifelong, and returning to society with these handicaps can be extremely stressful,particularly for children.

A cross-section depiction of the skin is shown in Fig. 1. Burns generally are divided into four categories,defined by the...

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