OBJECTIVE: Burn scar contractures limit range of motion (ROM) of joints and have substantial impact on disability and the quality of life (QoL) of patients, particularly in a Low- and Middle-Income Country (LMIC) setting. Studies on the long-term outcome are lacking globally; this study describes the long-term impact of contracture release surgery performed in an LMIC.
METHODS: This is a pre-post cohort study, conducted in a referral hospital in Tanzania. Patients who underwent burn scar contracture release surgery in 2017-2018 were eligible. ROM (goniometry), disability (WHODAS 2.0) and QoL (EQ-5D) were assessed. The ROM data were compared to the ROM that is required to perform activities of daily living without compensation, i.e. functional ROM. Assessments were performed preoperatively and at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months postoperatively.
RESULTS: In total, 44 patients underwent surgery on 115 affected joints. At 12 months, the follow-up rate was 86%. The mean preoperative ROM was 37.3% of functional ROM (SD 31.2). This improved up to 108.7% at 12 months postoperatively (SD 42.0, p < 0.001). Disability-free survival improved from 55% preoperatively to 97% at 12 months (p < 0.001) postoperatively. QoL improved from 0.69 preoperatively, to 0.93 (max 1.0) at 12 months postoperatively (p < 0.001). Patients who regained functional ROM in all affected joints reported significantly less disability (p < 0.001) and higher QoL (p < 0.001) compared to patients without functional ROM.
CONCLUSIONS: Contracture release surgery performed in an LMIC significantly improved functional ROM, disability and QoL. Results showed that regaining a functional joint is associated with less disability and higher QoL.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Burns : journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2021|
- scar contracture
- public health
- quality of life