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Escharotomy literally means cutting a hole in the eschar, the thick, rigid barrier of burn tissue. It is an emergency treatment for any full thickness, and almost invariably, circumferential burn to the dermis. It is relevant particularly to the neck, thorax and extremities.

The submenu gives a description of the likely clinical features and treatment of circumferential burns at different sites.

Analgesia is necessary as the release has to extend beyond the supposedly anaesthetic burn into normal skin.

Last reviewed 01/2018