Objective quantification of burn scar stiffness using shear-wave elastography: Initial evidence of validity

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Shear-wave elastography (SWE) is an ultrasound based technology that can provide reliable measurements (velocity) of scar stiffness. The aim of this research was to evaluate the concurrent validity of using both the measured velocity and the calculated difference in velocity between scars and matched controls, in addition to evaluating potential patient factors that may influence the interpretation of the measurements. Methods: A cross-sectional study of 32 participants, with 48 burn scars and 48 matched contralateral control sites were evaluated with SWE, the Vancouver Scar Scale (VSS) and the Patient and Observer Scar Assessment Scale (POSAS) tactile sub-scores. Results: Spearman's rho demonstrated high correlations (r > 0.7) between the measured scar velocity and both the POSAS and VSS pliability sub-scores, whereas moderate correlations (r > 0.6) were found with the calculated difference in velocity. Regression analysis indicated that the association of increased velocity in scars, varied by length of time after burn injury and gender. Body location and Fitzpatrick skin type also demonstrated significant associations with velocity, whereas age did not. Conclusion: SWE shows potential as a novel tool to quantify burn scar stiffness, however patient factors need to be considered when interpreting results. Further research is recommended on a larger variety of scars to support the findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1787-1798
Number of pages12
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


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