Burn Classification: Identifying a Full-Thickness Burn


Burn classification is the process of determining the severity of a burn. Burns are classified into three depths: superficial, partial-thickness, and full-thickness.

Full-Thickness Burn

A full-thickness burn is a type of burn that damages all layers of the skin, including the dermis and epidermis. Full-thickness burns appear white or charred and have no sensation or capillary refill.

Burn Classification Criteria

Burn depth can be classified using the following criteria:

  • Appearance: Superficial burns are typically red and dry. Partial-thickness burns are typically red, blistering, and have a decreased capillary refill time. Full-thickness burns are typically brown, black, or white, and have no capillary refill.
  • Sensation: Superficial burns are typically painful. Partial-thickness burns may or may not have sensation. Full-thickness burns have no sensation.
  • Blanching: Superficial burns blanch (turn white) when pressure is applied. Partial-thickness burns may or may not blanch. Full-thickness burns do not blanch.

Categorization of Burn Injury

Based on the information provided, the client’s burn injury should be categorized as a full-thickness burn. The burn appears white and leather-like, there are no blisters or bleeding, and the client has little pain. All of these findings are consistent with a full-thickness burn.


Full-thickness burns are the most serious type of burn and require immediate medical attention. Full-thickness burns often require surgery to remove the dead tissue and promote healing.

Additional Information

Full-thickness burns are typically treated with surgery, followed by skin grafting. Skin grafting is a procedure in which healthy skin is taken from another part of the body and used to cover the burn wound.

Full-thickness burns can also be treated with other methods, such as dressings and wound care. However, these methods are typically less effective than surgery and skin grafting.


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