Different methods of burn wound management were used in rats with severe radiation-burn injury. The 30-day survival rate and the functional recovery of thymocytes and splenocytes were significantly higher in the group with early escharectomy and skin grafting than in the group without operational intervention and in the group with skin grafting in the recovery stage. In the group with early escharectomy and skin grafting on the 1st day after injury, all the autografts survived and the survival of the homografts was also markedly prolonged. Escharectomy and skin grafting performed in the late stage aggravated the wound condition, and infection and hemorrhage were the main factors hastening the death of the skin grafts as well as the animals. The findings indicate that escharectomy and skin grafting in the early stage after injury are conducive to the recovery of immune function and consequently to the recovery of the whole organism because infections are minimized after escharectomy and closure of the wound surfaces by skin grafting.