Development of International Outcomes Instrument for Hand and Upper Extremity Burn Scar Contracture Release


Journal of Burn Care & Research


Lawrence Cai
James Chang

Date Published: January 2017
Burn Contractures
Burn scar contractures remain a common source of severe disability in resource-limited countries. However, existing outcome measurements are unable to fully capture the impact of the scar contracture and surgical attempts at correction. To that end, we have developed a new outcome instrument, the Stanford-ReSurge Burn Scar Contracture Scale-Upper Extremity that can be used as a measurement of disability and reconstructive procedure outcomes. The outcome instrument was created through item generation, item reduction, and preliminary field testing. We performed a literature review using multiple databases to gather a comprehensive list of existing burn contracture metrics, removed metrics that were inapplicable in resource-limited settings, and submitted remaining items to plastic and hand surgeons for evaluation of clinical and cultural relevance, comprehensiveness, and feasibility. The remaining items were field tested to evaluate patient comprehension and ability to detect change over 1 month. A literature review found 32 unique scales that were eventually reduced to a pool of 38 potential items that were field tested with patients. Patient feedback further reduced the item pool to the final 20-item scale. Patients who underwent burn scar contracture release of the upper extremity showed an average of 14 points improvement between the preoperative and 1-month postoperative time point. The Stanford-ReSurge Burn Scar Contracture showed clinical utility for assessing outcomes in burn scar contracture release of the upper extremity. Our goal is to develop a standardized outcome instrument for burn reconstruction in the world’s poorest burn patients.