Burn CenterHome > Specialties > Burn Center > Positioning
Correct positioning of a burned area is very important during healing. At first, the goal is to reduce swelling through proper positioning. Another goal of positioning is to make it as easy as possible to regain normal motions after a burn. As the skin heals, it shrinks and makes it difficult to move joints normally. By using special splints and positioning equipment, we can help maintain normal motion. You will use this equipment while in bed, sitting in a chair and even while walking or at school!
An arm wedge is used to reduce swelling by keeping the arm elevated above the level of your heart. A second goal for using wedges for burns that are under the arm would be to keep the skin under the arms stretched out.
Arm wedges on airplane trough
Arm wedges on an airplane trough are used to reduce swelling, to regain normal range of motion and to prevent healing skin from shrinking while sitting.
Arm wedges on bedside tables
Wedges can also be secured to bedside tables and used when a person is either in bed or sitting in a chair.
Bucks traction is used to keep the arm up to reduce swelling, to regain normal range of motion and to prevent healing skin from shrinking under the arm.
A cushion is placed on the hospital bed to keep feet in a walking position.
Halo traction is used to prevent movement of the head or neck. This can help a new skin graft heal better. A halo is put on during surgery while the patient is anesthetized (sleeping). Four screws are tightened into the skull to secure the halo to the head. It does not hurt to wear halo traction. Halos are usually taken off when a new graft is stable—around five days after the graft surgery. To remove the halo, the screws are loosened and the device is lifted away from the head. A person does not need to be asleep to remove a halo. Most patients say that it is not painful to remove a halo but that they can hear the sound of the screws being loosened.
A foam wedge is often used to position the neck in slightly back or hyperextended position. Foam wedges can be placed on a bed or in a chair. Neck positioning is done to keep a prolonged stretch on neck skin—a common area for contracture following a neck burn.
A tall walker is used when you have burned your hands or arms. A tall walker has an overhead bar that a person holds onto while walking.
A special table that moves a person from a lying down position to a standing position. A tilt table is used to help a person get used to standing again after being in bed for a very long period of time.