A 28-year-old suffering from burns due to an automobile accident was rushed to the emergency room. Upon assessment, it is noted that the patient's right arm and leg are burned. The burnt skin is red and white, moist, and large blisters are present. The patient complains of severe pain. Based on this description, what is the depth of injury?


Superficial (1st degree): Involving only the epidermal layer of skin, these burns do not blister but are painful, dry, red, and blanch with pressure. The pain subsides after 2-4 days and resolves within 6 days (example: sunburn, minor scalding from hot food)

Partial thickness (2nd degree), includes two subcategories: Involving the epidermis and portions of the dermis, these are further classified as superficial or deep. 

• Superficial partial thickness burns form blisters within 24 hours and are very painful, red, and weeping but can still blanch with pressure. They heal in 1-3 weeks.

Deep partial thickness burns extend into the deeper dermis and can be very painful or painful only to pressure. They appear red and waxy white with wet blisters that easily unroof and do not blanch. They heal in 3-9 weeks with scarring and functional limitation if located over a joint.

Full-thickness burn (3rd degree): These burns destroy all layers of the dermis and may involve subcutaneous tissue. These burns do not hurt. The skin appears white or gray or even blackened. No blisters will develop. Pale full-thickness burns may appear like normal skin, but there is no blanching and the skin is no longer elastic due to the damage.

4th degree burn: Black, dry, and painless. Potentially life-threatening, extending through the skin into fascia, muscle, and/or bone.

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