Burns area estimation-an error perpetuated

Burns. 2004 Aug;30(5):481-2. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2004.01.019.


In estimating small areas of burns, it is traditionally taught that the patient's palm is 1% of the body surface area. Whether the palm means the palmar surface of the whole hand or palm excluding the fingers, has not been very clear and is a source of confusion to many junior doctors. The ATLS teaching has been in contradiction to the evidence from literature and hence we undertook a study to examine the evidence and practices regarding this issue. It was done through a literature search, telephonic interviews and a review of Web-pages related to burns area estimation. The results highlighted the existing confusion on the topic and the need for educating junior doctors.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry / methods
  • Body Surface Area
  • Burns / pathology*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Female
  • Hand / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Professional Practice
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Trauma Severity Indices*