From the Greek word "eschara" (scab) an eschar (IPAEng|ˈɛskɑr) is a piece of dead tissue that is cast off from the surface of the skin, particularly after a burn injury, but also seen in
gangrene, ulcer, fungal infections, necrotizing spider bite wounds, and late exposure to anthrax. Eschar is sometimes called a "black wound" because the wound is covered with thick, dry, black necrotic tissue.
Eschar may be allowed to slough off naturally, or it may require surgical removal (
debridement) to prevent infection, especially in immunocompromised patients (e.g. if a skin graftis to be conducted).
If eschar is on a limb, it is important to assess peripheral pulses of the affected limb to make sure blood and lymphatic circulation is not compromised. If circulation is compromised, an
escharotomy, or surgical incision through the eschar, may be indicated.
An escharotic is a substance that causes tissue to die and slough off. Examples include acids, alkalines, carbon dioxide, metallic salts, or electric cautery.
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