Increased burn wound healing time has been shown to influence abnormal scarring. This study hypothesized that scar severity increases commensurate to the increase in time to healing (TTH) of the wound. Wound healing and scar data from burn patients treated by the Burn Service of Western Australia at Royal Perth Hospital were examined. The relationship between TTH and scar severity, as assessed by the modified Vancouver Scar Scale (mVSS), was modelled using regression analysis. Interaction terms evaluated the effect of surgery and total body surface area – burn (TBSA) on the main relationship. Maximum likelihood estimation was used to account for potential bias from missing independent variable data. The sample had a median age of 34 years, TTH of 24 days, TBSA of 3% and length of stay of five days, 70% were men and 71% had burn surgery. For each additional day of TTH, the mVSS score increased by 0.11 points (P ⩽ 0.001) per day in the first 21 days and 0.02 points per day thereafter (P = 0.004). The relationship remained stable in spite of TBSA or surgical intervention. Investigation of the effect of missing data revealed the primary model underestimated the strength of the association. An increase in TTH within 21 days of injury is associated with an increase in mVSS or reduced scar quality. The results confirm that efforts should be directed toward healing burn wounds as early as possible.


burns, scar, time to healing, Vancouver Scar Scale, outcome, surgery

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