Scar contracture is a significant complication of burn injury. This study aimed to describe outcomes of early axilla orthotic use at end of range abduction in children, following a burn to the axilla region. A retrospective review of 76 children (mean age 3.9 years [SD 3.6]) treated at a tertiary children's hospital from 2006 to 2016 was conducted. No child developed axilla contracture for the duration of the 2-year study follow-up with no adverse events recorded. If orthotic use was ceased <60 days post-burn, it was considered not an essential intervention to maintain range of movement, leaving 49 children using the orthotic ≥60 days. Compared with the children who ceased orthotic use in <60 days, children who required the orthotic ≥60 days had a significantly higher frequency of deep-dermal burn (59 vs 25%, p = .01), flame mechanism (25 vs 5%, p = .03), and burn injury distribution involving the anterior trunk, flank, and arm (18 vs 3%, p = .03). Early signs of contracture, considered loss of full axilla range or significant banding, developed in nine children within 3 months post-burn. With intensive therapy, all returned to full axilla range by 9 months post-burn. Children with skin tension at end of range shoulder movement at the 1-month clinical assessment were 11 times more likely to develop early signs of contracture (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.9-62.1, p = .007). Intensive orthotic use at end of range shoulder abduction in children with axilla burns is well tolerated. When undertaken with ongoing therapist review, full axilla range can be maintained.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of burn care & research : official publication of the American Burn Association|
|Publication status||Published - 14 Aug 2019|