Burn scar hand contractures of variable degree are frequently encountered. Although the forearm is apparently spared, it was clinically observed that there was disuse atrophy in the unburnt extrinsic forearm muscles. Usually the clinicians do not give much importance to this fact. The girth at the midforearm was significantly reduced as compared to normal side. The flexion of the hand joints are governed by two components (a) intrinsic and (b) extrinsic muscles. The intrinsic muscles are directly involved in the contracted tissue. Therefore it was thought essential to evaluate the extrinsic group of muscles for their contribution in the final functional recovery following corrective surgery. Thirty patients having unilateral post thermal burn contracture sparing forearm were studied. A detailed clinical evaluation was made including grade of contracture and reduction in the forearm girth. The forearm unburnt muscles were evaluated by preoperative electrophysiological studies. Intraoperative biopsies were taken from these muscles for histopathological examination. On histopathological examination, there were significant abnormal changes in the form of muscle fiber atrophy, fibrolipomatous tissue replacement of atrophic muscle fibers and sarcolemmal changes. These changes were directly proportional to the severity of contractures. The electrophysiological studies showed proportionate changes in the form of reduction in amplitude, duration and interference. This study suggests that if these changes are mild and in reversible stage, they will favourably affect the functional recovery following surgery. However if these changes are of severe grade and irreversible, in spite of adequate surgery, splinting and physiotherapy, the functional recovery may not be complete.
- Electrophysiological changes in muscles
- Extrinsic muscles in contracture
- Histological changes in muscles
- Post burn contracture of hand
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine