Scars may lead to an array of cosmetic, psychological, and functional problems. Different scar features can be distinguished (i.e., color, thickness, relief, pliability, and surface area) that are clinically relevant and contribute to the quality and judgment of a scar. Today, objective evaluation of these scar features is indispensable for practicing evidence-based medicine (e.g., to evaluate the outcome of clinical trials). In this review, an overview and update are given on the most relevant noninvasive objective measurement tools for scar evaluation.
A PubMed literature search was performed. Articles evaluating the clinimetric properties of noninvasive scar assessment tools were included. The selected objective measurement tools were then critically reviewed with respect to the clinimetric properties of reliability, validity, and feasibility.
In total, 75 articles were selected and 23 different noninvasive measurement methods were evaluated.
Based on the scar features color, thickness, relief, pliability, and surface area, the best measurement tools that are currently available were recommended.
Beverwijk and Amsterdam, The Netherlands
From the Association of Dutch Burn Centers; the Department of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Hand Surgery and the Burn Center, Red Cross Hospital; the Department of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Hand Surgery, Academic Medical Center Amsterdam; and the Department of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Hand Surgery, VU Medical Center.
Received for publication May 18, 2010; accepted October 4, 2010.
Disclosure:The authors have no financial interest to declare in relation to the content of this article.
Paul P. M. van Zuijlen, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Hand Surgery, Red Cross Hospital, Vondellaan 13, 1942 LE Beverwijk, The Netherlands, email@example.com