Research team

Movement Antwerp (MOVANT)

Expertise

I am a physical therapist working as a post-doctoral research assistent at the University of Antwerp Department of Medicine and Health Sciences. I finished a PhD on burn scar assessments and physiotherapeutic treatments in collaboration with Oscare a (burn) scar after-care and research centre located in Antwerp. I combine my research activities with teaching responsibilities in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and physiotherapy (physical examination, anamnesis, human functioning/ICF, burn care and scarring). I am an ICF trainer and have special interest in Physical Scar management, dysfunctioning, patient reported outcome measures and digitalizing PT care (e-health). Research involves comparative effectiveness of scar treatments Reliability and validity testing of (new) objective and subjective scar assessment tools and questionaires for scars and quality of life Digitalising questionnaires Patient centred physical therapy care Quality indicators

Unraveling factors predicting post-surgical hypertrophic scar formation: A prospective study based on a digital biopsychosial care pathway 01/07/2020 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

Surgery can have an enormous impact on a person's life. Besides the emotional reasons (receiving a diagnosis, having to undergo (urgent) surgery, etc.), the aftermath can be heavy for the patient. Rehabilitation periods can be long, and after that period, the patient remains with a scar, which can be debilitating. The incidence of hypertrophic scarring of postsurgical incision ranges from 40% to 70%. Although at the time of development, this hypertrophic scarring is not considered a top priority, as the patient is still in the rehabilitation phase, it has been shown that hypertrophic scars greatly impact the person's quality of life. As such, it is important to prevent this process of hypertrophic scarring. However, until now there is limited specific follow-up to examine post-surgical scar conditions, so it is not clear what factors contribute to the development of hypertrophic scars and whether they are preventable. Therefore, the aim of the current application is to identify factors, inventoried by patient reported outcome measures and objective scar assessment, predicting post-surgical pathologic scar formation. Recently we have developed an e-health application for fast detection of abnormal scar formation, enabling the proposed study by offering fast and real time data recording and analysis of both patient and scar related information. The unique and specific scientific importance lies within the fact that with this study we may reveal critical points in which abnormal scar formation occurs post-surgery. Moreover, we may reveal predictors that make the difference between normotrophic and pathologic hypertrophic scar formation. If adjustable risk factors are identified we can prevent hypertrophic post-surgical by early and continuous screening, greatly enhancing patient's QOL after surgery. To achieve these goals a prospective study will be set up with specific data collection the first months after surgical incision. Evaluating self-reported scar quality, symptoms and quality of life included in the e-health tool Scarpath together with the objective examination of the scar (e.g. scar redness, elasticity) allows us to closely monitor the progression over time and allows us to gather large amount of scar and patient related parameters during wound healing which may lead to normal or hypertrophic scars. This is the first study that attempts to unravel factors leading to post-surgical hypertrophic scar formation with a patient-centered e-health based data registration system. As such, it is the first study that makes use of several PROMs which (in their paper version) are being used worldwide in the scar-related context, and can provide a proof of concept for further e-health applications. With establishing risk factors from this study future research may reveal whether specific interventions or prevention strategies are useful and as such greatly impacting patient's QOL post-surgery.

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Research team(s)

Tension reducing taping as a mechanotherapy for hypertrophic burn scars. 01/07/2017 - 31/12/2018

Abstract

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).

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Manual and mechanical defibrosing techniques in scars after burns and major trauma. 01/10/2013 - 08/02/2017

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand Oscare. UA provides Oscare research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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