Assessing Thickness of Burn Scars Through Ultrasound Measurement for Patients with Arm Burns

Abstract

Introduction

In this study, ultrasound measurement was used to reveal objective differences between male and female patients in arm burn scar thickness.

Methods

An experienced physician trained by radiologists used an ultrasound machine and a digital height and weight scale to measure normal skin and scar thicknesses and patients’ body mass indices (BMIs). On the day of testing, the pressure garments (PGs) on the patients’ arms were removed.

Results

Bonferroni 95% confidence intervals for scar thicknesses measured in female and male patients were 0.135 to 0.212 cm and 0.045 to 0.113 cm, respectively; the individual confidence level was 97.5%. For both groups, a P value of < .05 was obtained for the multiple comparison and Levene tests. The test for equal variances for both groups resulted in no overlapping intervals and significantly different corresponding standard deviations. Thus, scar thicknesses differed between male and female patients using 24-mmHg PGs. The scar tissue of female patients was thicker than that of male patients. We also observed that patients with a high BMI (22.4–23.8) had smaller mean scar thicknesses.

Conclusion

Patients with a high BMI had smaller mean scar thickness. Although these findings are notable, the same pressure was applied to different body types and body parts; the height of the scars also varied across different areas of patients’ bodies. We hope to recruit more patients with burns on other parts of the body to extend our findings.

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Acknowledgements

We express our deep appreciation to Dr. Shiow-Shuh Chuang of the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Linkou; Dr. Katie Pei- Hsuan Wu of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Linkou & Taoyuan; and Prof. Shyi-Gen Chen, M.D., MPh, of the National Defense Medical Center Tri-Service General Hospital for providing the instrumentation and their expertise. We also thank the participants.

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Contributions

All authors made substantial contributions to the design of this trial; PWH contributed to the statistical design of this study.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Pi-Wen Huang or Chih-Wei Lu.

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The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

Ethical Approval

The study was approved by Institutional Review Board of Jen-Ai Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan (Number: IRB 108–30).

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Huang, PW., Lu, CW., Chu, KT. et al. Assessing Thickness of Burn Scars Through Ultrasound Measurement for Patients with Arm Burns. J. Med. Biol. Eng. (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40846-020-00592-x

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Keywords

  • Pressure garments
  • Scar
  • Patients with burns
  • Ultrasound
  • High body mass index