Experience with corrective surgery for postburn contractures in Mumbai, India

J Burn Care Res. May-Jun 2012;33(3):e120-6. doi: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e3182335a00.


Postburn contracture is a source of significant morbidity in India, even though its occurrence can be reduced significantly by comprehensive postburn injury care, including surgical intervention. This study investigates whether limited access to initial medical care after burn injury has been associated with increased contracture formation among lower socioeconomic class patients in Mumbai, India. During a surgical mission in Mumbai, India, patients presenting with functionally debilitating burn contractures and minimal income were surveyed for initial care received immediately after burn injury. The survey consisted of questions regarding the history of burn injury and details of any initial treatment. Demographic data were collected by chart review. Thirty-eight patients from the state of Maharashtra participated in the study (mean age 28.1 years). The most common etiology of burn injury was from kerosene stove blasts (74%), and the most common morbidities were contractures of the neck and upper extremity. On average, time elapsed since the original injury was 2.8 years. Nearly all patients sought initial medical care at hospitals (97%) with the majority receiving only dressing changes for their full-thickness or deep-dermal burns (61%). The most common reason for not seeking out delayed burn reconstruction was perceived cost (65%). Ultimately, 60 operations were performed, of which 9 (15%) developed postsurgical complications. These data suggest that a subset of lower socioeconomic class burn patients in Maharashtra received suboptimal initial intervention. Comprehensive initial therapy after burn injury may provide better outcomes and limit the number of patients requiring delayed reconstruction.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Burns / complications*
  • Burns / diagnosis
  • Burns / therapy
  • Burns, Chemical / complications
  • Burns, Chemical / diagnosis
  • Burns, Chemical / therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Contracture / etiology*
  • Contracture / physiopathology
  • Contracture / surgery*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Developing Countries
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • India
  • Infant
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Kerosene / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Assessment
  • Skin Transplantation / methods
  • Skin Transplantation / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Kerosene