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Burn and Wound Care

The George D. Peak Memorial Burn and Wound Center offers comprehensive burn care for adults and children. Our team provides initial management for severely burned patients as well as outpatient care for minor burns. 

As part of an academic medical center, our physicians have been at the forefront of research and advancing burn care, including skin graft technology. Each unit in our center features an air handling system that completely exchanges the air six times per hour with fresh filtered air, helping to minimize the chance for infection. 

For patients with burns, rehabilitation begins on admission to the burn unit. The burn center’s staff members provide comprehensive burn care and foster a recovery mindset within the patient with realistic expectations for recovery. 

The goals for rehabilitation are to: 

  • Help patients achieve and maintain the highest level of function, surgically intervening when necessary 
  • Minimize the effect of wound care on function 
  • Restore physical abilities 
  • Control scarring and wound contracture 
  • Return functionality to the same level as before the burn 
  • Optimize self image and body image

The Peak Burn Center provides a full range of patient care services and works closely with other health care professionals throughout University Hospital, such as a dedicated emergency operating room with trauma surgeons available 24/7 and a staff specially trained to work with pediatric patients. 

Helping Patients Heal Faster

An important advance in the treatment of thermal injury has been the introduction of cultured skin and skin substitutes, such as Biobrane® and a permanent skin substitute called AlloDerm®.

In addition to skin substitutes, physicians at University Hospital have been at the forefront in the use of cultured skin. The process involves growing a patient’s skin in the laboratory and expanding it from a small biopsy to 10,000 times its normal size.

History of Burn Program (About Us)

University Hospital has provided burn care since 1968, but Mid-Missouri’s only intensive care unit for burns was officially established in 1977. The George David Peak Memorial Burn Center was made possible through the generous support provided by George and Blanche Peak in memory of their son. 

En route to southern Missouri to conduct a training class for emergency medical personnel, George D. Peak was traveling in a light plane that crashed in bad weather. A native of Columbia, Peak had been a member of the Boone County Volunteer Fire Department and an original member of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) team at University Hospital. 

In 1974, George W. and Blanche donated funds to the University of Missouri to establish the burn care unit and continued to support the institution over the years. 

“We appreciate the opportunity to contribute to the burn center,” George W. Peak said. "Not only does it immortalize our son’s dedication to his work there, but it also is part of the Health Sciences Center’s goal of providing total health care to those who need it.” 

When the burn care center officially opened in 1977, it was the first facility solely dedicated to treating burn patients in mid-Missouri and remains the only burn intensive care center between Kansas City and St. Louis. 

Today the burn center stands at the forefront of burn care, offering new techniques for skin replacement, including the use of cultured skin and skin substitutes. The multidisciplinary burn care team also is committed to teaching and educating children and adults about burn prevention. 

Nutritional Support for Burn Patients

Nutrition is another area in which significant advances have been made in the care of burn patients. For the past 10 years, physicians have followed the approach of internally feeding the burn patient immediately after arrival. Because a burn injury greatly taxes the patient’s body, the body responds by becoming hypermetabolic — a process that continues until the wound is covered. This extraordinary demand is met by feeding burn patients two to three times their normal intake.

Referral Guidelines for the Burn Center

Affiliated with the only Level I Trauma Center in central Missouri, the Peak Burn Center serves as a resource, providing information, support and immediate specialized burn care and assistance to medical professionals and their patients throughout the region. If necessary, we can provide ground or helicopter transport to our facility.

Nutritional Support for Burn Patients

Nutrition is another area in which significant advances have been made in the care of burn patients. For the past 10 years, physicians have followed the approach of internally feeding the burn patient immediately after arrival. Because a burn injury greatly taxes the patient’s body, the body responds by becoming hypermetabolic — a process that continues until the wound is covered. This extraordinary demand is met by feeding burn patients two to three times their normal intake.

Admittance to the Burn Center

The Burn Center admits any patients who are in need of specialized burn and wound care. The American Burn Association and the American College of Surgeons recommend transfer to a burn center for burned patients who meet any of the following criteria:

A clinician is always available to provide direct physician-to-physician or nurse-to-nurse consultation about any concern related to burn care. Questions about specific patients should be resolved by consultation with the burn center physician. For consultation, please call the physician referral line, 800-877-7197.

  • Second- and/or third-degree burns covering more than 10 percent of the patient's total body surface area in patients of any age.
  • A third-degree burn greater than 5 percent in patients of any age
  • Any second- or third-degree burn that could cause functional or cosmetic impairment to the face, hands, feet, genitalia, perineum, and/or major joints.
  • Electrical and lightning burns
  • Chemical burns
  • Burns involving inhalation injury
  • Circumferential burns of the extremities and/or the chest
  • Burns combined with other trauma where the burns are a greater threat of mortality or morbidity than the trauma
  • Burns in patients with preexisting medical conditions that may make burn resuscitation and recovery more difficult or present a risk of mortality. This includes diabetes, chronic obstructive lung diseases and coronary artery disease
  • Hospitals without qualified personnel or equipment for the care for children.
  • Burn Injury in patients who will require special social, emotional, or long-term rehabilitative support. This includes cases involving suspected child abuse, substance abuse, etc.

Contact

To learn more about our burn care program, please call (573) 882-BURN (2876).