PURPOSE: The objective of this study was to analyze the prevalence, indications, and type of reconstructive surgery and predictors of the outcomes of reconstructive surgery after hand burns.

METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was conducted that included all patients admitted with acute hand burns in the Dutch burn centers from January 1998 through December 2002. The details of reconstruction including frequency, timing, indication, and techniques were collected over a 10-year follow-up period.

RESULTS: Hand burns were seen in 42% (n = 562 of 1,334) of all patients admitted with acute burns. Reconstructive surgery during the 10-year follow-up period was required in 15%. Contractures, especially of the first web space and little finger, were the most frequent indications for reconstructive surgery. Web spaces 1 to 3 and the little finger were the location most frequently operated on. The most frequently performed surgical technique was release of the contractures and the use of a random flap. Eighty percent of the reconstructive surgery patients required more than 1 reconstructive procedure, most often within 2 years of the initial injury. Secondary operations at the same location were required in 12%. In 40% of the patients, the first reconstructive surgery was performed within the first postburn year. Significant independent factors related to the need for reconstructive hand surgery were a larger area of full-thickness burns and surgical treatment of the hand during the acute phase.

CONCLUSIONS: Reconstructive surgery was required in 15% of patients who sustained hand burns. The majority of the patients requiring reconstructive surgery of the hand needed 2 or more operations to correct the contractures of the hand. Contractures of the little finger and first web space were the locations most frequently operated on. Patients with more extensive burns and who required hand surgery during the acute phase were more likely to need reconstructive surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-358
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of hand surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescent
  • adult
  • age factors
  • burns/complications
  • child
  • preschool
  • contracture/etiology
  • female
  • hand Injuries/complications
  • Humans
  • infant
  • newborn
  • male
  • middle aged
  • patient selection
  • reconstructive surgical procedures
  • retrospective studies
  • time factors
  • young adults


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