Background: Hypertrophic scarring following burn injuries remains a real concern and clinical challenge. The prevalence of hypertrophic scarring following burns reaches up to 70%. There is increasing acknowledgement that mechanical forces can regulate inflammation and fibrosis and therefore may be used therapeutically to stimulate tissue repair and remodeling. This mechanism is referred to as "mechanotherapy".
Specific objectives : A STIMPRO financing allows us to confirm the hypothesis that mechanotherapy can remodel hypertrophic scarring by use of a newly developed taping technique that reduces tension on pathological burn scars. We will also investigate whether this is related to the phases of wound healing (proliferation/ maturation). Assessment of scar variables will provide fundamental knowledge needed for further development of mechanotherapy.
Novelty: This is the first study that attempts to confirm the mechanotherapy hypothesis in reducing tension, by the use of elastic therapeutic tape, to improve hypertrophic scarring.
Method: A prospective cohort study will be performed. Scar sites will be treated with "standard of care" (pressure garments, silicone and moisturisers as prescribed by the treating physician) + mechanotherapy (newly developed specific taping technique with kinesio tape). A six months enrolment and intervention period followed by a 12 month follow-up period and completion period will be anticipated totalling 18 months.
Link to previous and future research: This project is a continuation of the work that has been done by our consortium (REVAKI & Oscare). Our collaboration has led to the PhD. of Jill Meirte in 2016, six joint publications in peer reviewed journals and numerous presentations at international conferences. Prior to this project we have already conducted a pilot study. The confirmation of the effectiveness of the taping technique on reducing mechanical tension in the pilot study was a prerequisite for the current project. Financing and finalizing the project, as proposed here, will significantly increase our success in finding additional funding of, for example, a randomized control trial (e.g. FWO-TBM).