Accuracy of Currently Used Paper Burn Diagram vs a Three-Dimensional Computerized Model

Nicole C. Benjamin, Jong O. Lee, William B. Norbury, Ludwik K. Branski, Paul Wurzer, Carlos J. Jimenez, Debra A. Benjamin, David N. Herndon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Burn units have historically used paper diagrams to estimate percent burn; however, unintentional errors can occur. The use of a computer program that incorporates wound mapping from photographs onto a three-dimensional (3D) human diagram could decrease subjectivity in preparing burn diagrams and subsequent calculations of TBSA burned. Analyses were done on 19 burned patients who had an estimated TBSA burned of ≥20%. The patients were admitted to Shriners Hospitals for Children or the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, from July 2012 to September 2013 for treatment. Digital photographs were collected before the patient's first surgery. Using BurnCase 3D (RISC Software GmbH, Hagenberg, Austria), a burn mapping software, the user traced partial- and full-thickness burns from photographs. The program then superimposed tracings onto a 3D model and calculated percent burned. The results were compared with the Lund and Browder diagrams completed after the first operation. A two-tailed t-test was used to calculate statistical differences. For partial-thickness burns, burn sizes calculated using Lund and Browder diagrams were significantly larger than those calculated using BurnCase 3D (15% difference, P <.01). The opposite was found for full-thickness burns, with burn sizes being smaller when calculated using Lund and Browder diagrams (11% difference, P <.05). In conclusion, substantial differences exist in percent burn estimations derived from BurnCase 3D and paper diagrams. In our studied cohort, paper diagrams were associated with overestimation of partial-thickness burn size and underestimation of full-thickness burn size. Additional studies comparing BurnCase 3D with other commonly used methods are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e254-e260
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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