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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Surgery 1/2015

Recurrence of post burn contractures of the elbow and shoulder joints: experience from a ugandan hospital

BMC Surgery > Ausgabe 1/2015
Deo Darius Balumuka, George William Galiwango, Rose Alenyo
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12893-015-0089-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declared that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

DDB designed the study, analysed and interpreted the data; GWG interpreted and critically reviewed the manuscript. RA- critically reviewed the manuscript for the intellectual content. All the authors approved the final copy of the manuscript.



Recurrence of post-burn contractures, following inadequate management of post-burn contractures (PBC), is under reported. It is associated with multiple operations and an increased cost to patients and their families. The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency of recurrence of PBC of the shoulder and the elbow joint three months after surgical intervention and the associated risk- factors.


This was a prospective cohort study conducted at CoRSU hospital from March 2012 to November 2014. All patients with PBC of the elbow and/or shoulder joint who consented to be in the study and met the inclusion criteria were enrolled. Data was collected using a pretested, coded questionnaire. A goniometer was used to measure the active range of motion of the involved joint. The measurements were recorded in degrees. The data was analysed with STATA version 12.1.


58 patients were enrolled consecutively in the study. There were 36 females and 22 males, with a female to male ratio of 1.6:1. The age range was 0.75–45 years, with a median age of 5 years. The average age at the time of injury was 3.4 years. The most common cause of initial burn injury was scalding. The average number of joints involved per patient was two. There was a high incidence of recurrence of PBC (52 %) among the participants. The shoulder had the highest frequency of recurrence at 67 %. The elbow joint had a frequency of recurrence of 27 %. All participants with both elbow and shoulder joint involvement had PBC recur. The risk factors for recurrence were flame burn (p = 0.007), duration of PBC of more than 1 year (p = 0.018), and incomplete release of the contracture (p = 0.002). The presence of keloids, hypertrophic scars, ulcers and the occurrence of complications at the contracture site were not associated with recurrence of PBC.


Recurrence of PBC of the elbow and shoulder joint is a common problem. The risk factors should be kept in mind during management of PBC to reduce the recurrence rate.
Additional file 1: 4.5 year old child with an elbow post burn contracture secondary to scald injury. He was managed with jumping man flap with good results.
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