Contractures

March 1, 2010

A contracture scar can be defined as tightening of the skin overlying the affected area. This type of scar may affect the adjacent muscles, tendons and nerves leading to limitation in the ability to move.


A contracture is a serious complication; it happens when the normal elastic connective tissue is replaced with inelastic fibrous tissue. The fibrous tissue is resistant to stretching. Depending on where the contracture scar is located, the patient may have difficulty performing normal daily activities. This may occur because the contracture can inhibit movement. For example, if the contractures restrict range of motion of a joint.

Treatment of contractures:

  • Exercises: they help to stretch the scar area and keep the muscles and joints of the burned limb flexible. It is important to follow the instructions and do the exercises given to you by your doctor, physical therapist, or occupational therapist.
  • Pressure aids: like Ace wraps, custom made compression garments.
  • Surgical treatment: if the non surgical methods fail to treat the contracture surgery may be an option, this may include:
  1. Skin graft or skin flap procedure: this involves removing the scar tissue and then covering the area with a skin graft or a skin flap which is similar to a graft but has its own blood supply.
  2. Z-plasty: it involves using a Z-shaped incision. This type of procedure is used to revise a scar.
  3. Tissue expansion: this procedure involves a process that increases the amount of existing tissue which will be available for reconstructive purposes.
. This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.

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