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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: The study is approved by the Regional Committee for Patient-Oriented Research Leeuwarden in the Netherlands (NL45917.099.13).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1810-1818
JournalBurns : journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • scars
  • contracture complications
  • children
  • burn care


Dive into the research topics of 'Course of prevalence of scar contractures limiting function: a preliminary study in children and adolescents after burns'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this