Course of prevalence of scar contractures limiting function: A preliminary study in children and adolescents after burns

Anouk M. Oosterwijk*, Leonora J. Mouton, Moniek Akkerman, Matthea M. Stoop, Margriet E. van Baar, Sonja M. H. Scholten-Jaegers, Cees P. van der Schans, Marianne K. Nieuwenhuis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Scar contracture is a well-known sequela of burns that is specifically relevant as it may limit function. Reports regarding the course of scar contractures, however, are scarce and, moreover, not focussed on function. This study describes the course of prevalence of scar contractures that limit function in children and adolescents after burns.

Method: Range of motion (ROM) of extremity joints of 20 children and adolescents after burns were assessed at discharge (T0) and at six weeks (T1), three months (T2), and six months (T3) after discharge. A scar contracture limiting function was defined as a measured ROM lower than the functional ROM, i.e., ROM used to perform daily activities by unimpaired subjects.

Results: At discharge (T0), 89.5% of the subjects had one or more scar contractures that limited function. Six months later (T3), this prevalence was 76.5%. At discharge (T0), less function limiting scar contractures were found for the upper extremity (29.7%) than the lower extremity (53.3%). Over time, prevalence of contractures in both extremities fluctuated between 22% and 35%.

Conclusions: The majority of children and adolescents (13/17) still had scar contractures limiting function six months after discharge (T3). Substantial longitudinal studies over a longer period of time are needed to increase our knowledge on the course of these scar contractures in order to support improvements in burn care. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd and ISBI. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1810-1818
Number of pages9
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2019


  • Range of motion
  • Prevalence
  • Paediatric
  • Flexibility
  • Activities of daily living
  • Quality of life

Cite this