Effect of a supervised exercise and physiotherapy program on surgical interventions in children with thermal injury

Mario M. Celis, Oscar E. Suman, Ted T. Huang, Peter Yen, David N. Herndon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

67 Scopus citations

Abstract

Continuous body growth and rigidity of scars in children are significant contributors to burn scar contractures (BSCs). BSCs decrease a patient's range of motion and their ability to perform activities of daily living. A benefit of exercise is an increase the patient's ability to perform and sustain activities of daily living. Therefore, we investigated whether patients who were involved in a supervised, hospital-based exercise program, in addition to physical and occupational therapy (PTEX), would have fewer surgical interventions than a nonexercise group receiving home-delivered physical and occupational therapy (PT) alone. We examined 53 patients at 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months postburn. The PTEX group (n = 27) completed a 12-week supervised exercise program starting at 6 months postburn. Exercise sessions were held three times per week, with duration of 60 to 90 minutes per session. Resistance and aerobic exercises were performed at 70 to 85% of the patient's maximal effort. In contrast, the PT group (n = 26) received a home rehabilitation program with no supervised exercise. Patients were evaluated at 3-month intervals for scar formation, range of motion, and need for surgery. At 12, 18, 24 months postburn, the number of patients in the PTEX group needing release of BSC was significantly lower than the number of patients in the PT group. The results indicate that patients would receive a significant benefit if enrolled in a supervised exercise and physiotherapy program with the exercise portion consisting of an aerobic and resistance-training component. This type of program is beneficial in decreasing the number of surgical interventions and should be incorporated as part of a postburn outpatient rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-61
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Nursing(all)
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Health Professions(all)

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