CLEVELAND, Ohio. (KFSN) --Each year, more than 500,000 Americans will suffer from a scalding burn. These injuries can leave lasting scars that cause physical and emotional damage. Now, a technique that expands the skin is helping patients heal.
Today Hailey Woodall is still dealing with the aftermath of an accident that happened 12 years ago. When Hailey was 19 months old, she spilled a pot of scalding water on herself.
Hailey told Ivanhoe, "I kind of just grabbed it because I was trying to look up like that, and tilted it onto myself."
Hailey burned 40% of her body.
Hailey's mother, Tiffany Woodall said "It was horrific. I said I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy to go through that."
Hailey spent months in the hospital and had numerous skin graft procedures. But years later her burn scars were still causing problems.
Bahar Bassiri Gharb, MD, a plastic surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic told Ivanhoe, "Part of the process of scarring is the scars contract."
Hailey's scars were affecting the growth of her breast and preventing movement in her arm. So Dr. Gharb put a saline-filled expander under Hailey's normal skin to gradually stretch it out and grow new skin. After a few months, she took the expander out, removed Hailey's old scars, and used the new skin to cover the area.
"So with this surgery, we removed half of Hailey's scars and covered them with normal skin," Dr. Gharb explained.
Now, Hailey can raise her arms.
"I can go all the way up and before I could hardly go like this," said Hailey.
And she's got her confidence back!
Tiffany told Ivanhoe, "She's just so much happier, and she smiles more."
Hailey still needs at least two more surgeries to fix her scars. The tissue expansion procedure she had is also commonly used during breast reconstruction.
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