Post-burn healing: quantifying optimal compression

Mrs Rosemary Kendell1, Ms Inge (Hui Ing) Wong2, Dr Sarah McGarry3, W/Prof Fiona  Wood4

1Fiona Stanley Hospital, Perth, Australia, 2Fiona Wood Foundation, Perth, Australia, 3Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia, 4Burn Service of Western Australia, Perth, Australia


Pressure garment therapy, has been widely used as the first-line intervention for the prevention and/or reduction of hypertrophic scarring.

The current evidence regarding the effectiveness of pressure garments on hypertrophic scarring is scant, secondly, there is inadequate empirical evidence regarding the actual interface pressure exerted by a garment. Furthermore, there is a failure to acknowledge differing levels of compression based on body site and the effect of movement.

A literature review revealed a single histological study conducted by Li-Tsang et al. (2014) the results of which indicated that pressure therapy elicited an early yet positive change in hypertrophic scarring. The study also indicated that there was an inhibition of proliferation of basal keratinocytes and a correlated reduction in myofibroblasts.

This study, introduced at ANZBA 2018, and now concluded has specifically investigated the impact of compression therapy on scar histopathology, and the link between the level of compression and assessed scar outcomes.

This study has quantified the degree of mmHg compression exerted by different garments on burn injured patients wearing custom-made or ready-to-wear garments, but also the variability of that compression affected by body site and movement factors (using Pico-Press).

Through the utilisation of skin biopsies taken at periodic intervals to analyse scar histology, mmHg compression readings, and clinician assessed and patient perception scar outcome measures, this study seeks to assess the therapeutic efficacy of pressure garment therapy.


Li-Tsang, CWP, Feng B, Huang, L, Liu, X, Shu, B, Chan, YTY & Cheung K 2015, ‘A histological study on the effect of pressure therapy on the activities of myofibroblasts and keratinocytes in hypertrophic scar tissues after burn’, Burns, vol. 41(5), pp. 1008-1016.


ANZBA is a not for profit organisation and the peak body for health professionals responsible for the care of the burn injured in Australia and New Zealand. ANZBA encourages higher standards of care through education, performance monitoring and research.

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