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Acta Chir Plast. 1997;39(1):3-8.

Rehabilitative, psychiatric, functional and aesthetic problems in patients treated for burn injuries--a preliminary follow-up study.

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Department of Surgical Sciences, Karolinska Institute/Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


Patients consecutively treated for burn injuries for four or more days during 1994 were examined one year after admission by a plastic surgeon, a specialist in rehabilitation medicine and a psychiatrist. Of thirty-nine such patients treated, two were dead, 11 did not present and six thought they had no remaining problems. Aesthetic and functional problems were present in 16 patients, in 11 reconstructive surgery given in one or more sessions was judged to have improved the condition. Of eighteen patients referred to a rehabilitation medicine specialist, 14 were assessed. Nine of these had functional impairments in the burn-injured body regions. A majority had functional impairments, persistent decrease in range of upper extremity motion, reduced muscle force, altered sensibility and itch. One patient suffered from pain. Three patients had occupational handicaps. Work disability occurred in two patients and further two were in need of vocational counselling due to the burn injury. In a subgroup of 11 patients four fulfilled criteria for one or more personality disorders, and two of these also suffered from major depression. Quality of life assessed with the SF-36 was lower than in a normal population. Some of the patients had psychiatric disease and personality disorders. Although rehabilitation started early in the acute phase of treatment, rehabilitation medicine function-increasing measures were needed in several cases. Individual rehabilitation programmes based on the patient's particular features and needs are recommended. The findings support the idea of a multidisciplinary approach for patients with burn injury and indicate that a subgroup of burn injury patients have functional impairments and/or disabilities which can probably be improved with reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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