A Novel, Reliable Protocol to Objectively Assess Scar Stiffness Using Shear Wave Elastography

Helen DeJong, Steven Abbott, Marilyn Zelesco, Katrina Spilsbury, Lisa Martin, Rowan Sanderson, Melanie Ziman, Brendan F. Kennedy, Fiona M. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this research was to investigate the use of shear wave elastography as a novel tool to quantify and visualize scar stiffness after a burn. Increased scar stiffness is indicative of pathologic scarring which is associated with persistent pain, chronic itch and restricted range of movement. Fifty-five participants with a total of 96 scars and 69 contralateral normal skin sites were evaluated. A unique protocol was developed to enable imaging of the raised and uneven burn scars. Intra-rater and inter-rater reliability was excellent (intra-class correlation coefficient >0.97), and test-retest reliability was good (intra-class correlation coefficient >0.85). Shear wave elastography was able to differentiate between normal skin, pathologic scars and non-pathologic scars, with preliminary cutoff values identified. Significant correlations were found between shear wave velocity and subjective clinical scar assessment (r = 0.66). Shear wave elastography was able to provide unique information associated with pathologic scarring and shows promise as a clinical assessment and research tool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1614-1629
Number of pages16
JournalUltrasound in Medicine & Biology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


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