Effectiveness of Pressure Garment Therapy After Burns

April 1, 2011 updated by: University of Washington

Purpose - To determine the effectiveness of custom-fit pressure garment therapy in the prevention of hypertrophic scarring in healed burns.

Background - Approximately one million people are burned each year in the United States. The most devastating outcomes following burns is the ugly, itchy, hypertrophic scar that interferes with work and all other aspects of life. Pressure garment therapy is routinely used to minimize hypertrophic scarring even though there is no scientifically valid data that this therapy is efficacious. Pressure garments are extremely unattractive, expensive and uncomfortable and their use needs to be based upon valid data.

Goals and Objectives - The investigators plan to determine the effectiveness of pressure garment therapy in the control of hypertrophic scarring in healed burns.

Methods - The I-Scan® device was designed to measure pressure at the body/environment interface and allows clinicians to deal with pressure-related problems for at-risk patients. It has been widely used in rehabilitation medicine but not with burn survivors. The investigators will use this device to measure the pressure at the garment/skin interface. 2) Furthermore, the few studies that have been attempted to determine efficacy have used between subjects designs. Since burn depth is extremely variable from patient to patient and since hypertrophic scarring is greatly influenced by age and race/origin, the between subjects design requires very large numbers of subjects. The investigators will use a within wounds design studying forearm burns and applying pressure to half of the wound and no pressure to the other half. The investigators will then compare hardness, color, thickness and clinical appearance.

Study Overview

Study Type


Enrollment (Actual)



  • Not Applicable

Contacts and Locations

This section provides the contact details for those conducting the study, and information on where this study is being conducted.

Study Locations

    • Washington
      • Seattle, Washington, United States, 98104
        • University of Washington Burn Center

Participation Criteria

Researchers look for people who fit a certain description, called eligibility criteria. Some examples of these criteria are a person's general health condition or prior treatments.

Eligibility Criteria

Ages Eligible for Study

7 years to 65 years (Child, Adult, Older Adult)

Accepts Healthy Volunteers


Genders Eligible for Study



Inclusion Criteria:

  • Treated from time of burn at the University of Washington Burn Center during the first two years of the grant period
  • Burns covering the majority of the forearm that healed spontaneously in three or more weeks. Patients will be entered into the study within 4 weeks of injury.
  • Age 7-65 years. Patients younger than 7 years will be excluded given the cooperation required during follow-up evaluations. Patients over 65 years will be excluded since the incidence of hypertrophic scarring in persons over 65 is too low to warrant pressure garment trials.
  • Patients of any race, ethnicity, or skin color.
  • Informed, written consent in accord with the rules of the Human Subjects Committee of the University of Washington and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Incarcerated patients
  • Homeless patients
  • Patients with substance abuse
  • Patients with psychiatric diagnosis
  • Patients unavailable to return regularly for follow-up evaluations

Study Plan

This section provides details of the study plan, including how the study is designed and what the study is measuring.

How is the study designed?

Design Details

  • Primary Purpose: Treatment
  • Allocation: Randomized
  • Interventional Model: Single Group Assignment
  • Masking: Single

What is the study measuring?

Primary Outcome Measures

Outcome Measure
Measure Description
Time Frame
Pressure Under Compression Garment
Time Frame: Approximately 2.5, 5, 7.5, 10, and 12 months (follow-up visits 1-5)
Pressure measurements were obtained at the scar/garment interface using the I-ScanTM System (Tekscan, Inc., South Boston, MA). The device was calibrated and the pressure determined in mmHg. Pressure measurements were obtained by a therapist not involved in the care of the patient, who was trained in the use of the device. Therefore pressure ''dose'' was measured directly. Values reported are averaged over indicated visits.
Approximately 2.5, 5, 7.5, 10, and 12 months (follow-up visits 1-5)

Secondary Outcome Measures

Outcome Measure
Measure Description
Time Frame
Durometer (Hardness) of Wound
Time Frame: Approximately 2.5, 5, 7.5, 10, and 12 months (follow-up visits 1-5)
A single Rex Durometer Hand Model 1600, Type 00, without a foot attachment (Rex Gauge Company Inc., Glenview, IL) was used to measure scar hardness throughout the study. This device measures hardness of light foams, sponge rubber gels, and animal tissue in "durometer units" (range 0=soft, 100=hard). Measurements were obtained with the person in the sitting position with the forearm supported in a horizontal position on a desk and the shoulder adducted. The area of interest was triangulated and measurements obtained at the corners were averaged; the sides of the triangle were 3-5 cm.
Approximately 2.5, 5, 7.5, 10, and 12 months (follow-up visits 1-5)
Color of Wound
Time Frame: Approximately12 months (follow-up visits 5)
A Chromameter Minolta CR-300 (Konica Minolta, Ramsey, NJ) measured skin color. Skin surface illuminated by pulsed xenon arc lamp. Light reflected perpendicular to surface collected for a tri-stimulus color analysis. One measurement consisted of three flashes of illumination in order to obtain a mean value. Measurement values are in the L*a*b* color space was described by The Commission Internationale de I'Eclairage (CIE)(L=brightness [100=white,0=black], a=red-green[red=60,green=-60], b=yellow-blue[yellow=60,blue=-60])
Approximately12 months (follow-up visits 5)
Thickness of Wound
Time Frame: Approximately 12 months (follow-up visit 5)
Scar thickness in millimeters was obtained with high-frequency ultrasonography in the Department of Radiology. Several machines and probes were used over the years each with accuracy to 0.5 mm. The area of interest was triangulated and measurements obtained at the corners were averaged; the sides of the triangle were 3-5 cm.
Approximately 12 months (follow-up visit 5)
Clinical Appearance of Wound
Time Frame: Approximately 12 months (follow-up visit 5)
Photographs of wounds showed final cosmetic result. The two compression areas for each photograph were labeled distal (D) and proximal (P). We asked 11 experts (blinded as to the compression of the rated zones) to judge which zone (D or P) had the better cosmetic appearance or whether there was no difference. Votes were tallied according to the unblinded compression zone (i.e., high/normal and low). We report number of participants for which the rating experts all agreed or did not all agree (i.e., voted the other zone or "no difference") that the indicated zone had the better appearance.
Approximately 12 months (follow-up visit 5)
Compliance With Wearing Compression Garment
Time Frame: About 12 months (follow-up visit 5)
The patients were asked to complete a compliance form indicating how many hours the garment was worn each day.
About 12 months (follow-up visit 5)

Collaborators and Investigators

This is where you will find people and organizations involved with this study.


  • Principal Investigator: Loren Engrav, University of Washington

Publications and helpful links

The person responsible for entering information about the study voluntarily provides these publications. These may be about anything related to the study.

Study record dates

These dates track the progress of study record and summary results submissions to ClinicalTrials.gov. Study records and reported results are reviewed by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to make sure they meet specific quality control standards before being posted on the public website.

Study Major Dates

Study Start

November 1, 1995

Primary Completion (Actual)

September 1, 2009

Study Completion (Actual)

September 1, 2009

Study Registration Dates

First Submitted

October 30, 2009

First Submitted That Met QC Criteria

October 30, 2009

First Posted (Estimate)

November 1, 2009

Study Record Updates

Last Update Posted (Estimate)

April 4, 2011

Last Update Submitted That Met QC Criteria

April 1, 2011

Last Verified

April 1, 2011

More Information

Terms related to this study

Other Study ID Numbers

  • 30336-B
  • H133G050022
  • NIDRR_UWashingtonBMS_pgarment

This information was retrieved directly from the website clinicaltrials.gov without any changes. If you have any requests to change, remove or update your study details, please contact register@clinicaltrials.gov. As soon as a change is implemented on clinicaltrials.gov, this will be updated automatically on our website as well.

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