Burn contractures can cause significant disability, particularly in patients in resource-limited settings. However, a gap exists in our ability to measure outcomes in patients with burn contractures of the neck. The objective of this study was to develop and validate the Stanford-ReSurge Burn Scar Contracture Scale–Neck to longitudinally assess functional status and measure functional improvement following contracture release of the neck.
A literature review was performed to identify scales used in neck assessment and burn assessment. Items were then removed from the pool based on redundancy, feasibility, cultural appropriateness, and applicability to patients in international resource-limited environments. Remaining items were administered to patients with burn contracture of the neck.
The initial literature review found 33 scales that were combined to create an initial pool of 714 items, which was first reduced to 40 items. Feedback from field testing then yielded a 20-item outcome tool to assess appearance, activities of daily living, somatosensation, satisfaction, and range of motion, with a floor of 20 and a ceiling score of 100 points. Preliminary testing with 10 patients showed an average preoperative score of 58 points and an average 1-month postoperative score of 42 points.
The authors have created an outcome tool for measuring functional status following burn contracture release of the neck, which can easily be implemented in resource-limited settings where the burden of burn injuries and morbidities is disproportionately high. Ongoing work includes a multicountry study to evaluate validity and reliability.