arm being bandaged

What is the study about?

This article proposes a framework for the reconsideration of burn injury as a chronic condition. Medicine continues to advance and individuals with injuries are living longer. Due to the diversity and ongoing nature of symptoms and conditions experienced after a burn injury (i.e., sequelae), it is critical to effectively represent the extent and impact of burn sequelae on people’s lives. Considering burn injury as a chronic condition would provide a framework for the medical management of burn recovery that includes survivors’ long-term needs.

What did the study find?

This study found that paresthesia (numbness in the burn scar), was the most reported symptom following burn injury at all time points. More than 25% of the study population reported the following symptoms at all time points: numbness in hands and/or feet, joint pain, hot and cold intolerance, balance trouble, and memory difficulty. Most of the reported symptoms persisted for the entire two-year period surveyed after the burn injuries.

Who participated in the study?

Individuals with burn injuries (6-months N= 172, 12-months N = 140, 24-months N = 128) enrolled in the Burn Model System National Database.

How was the study conducted?

This study was a retrospective study using self-reported symptoms at 6, 12, and 24 months after injury, between August 2015 – August 2017.

How can people use the results?

Individuals with burn injuries and their families can use the results of this study to better understand how burn injuries can be seen as a chronic condition, and how this approach could be used to influence long-term care. Practitioners can use the results of this study to plan for considering burn injuries as a chronic condition, and how this approach could impact their ability to educate people with burn injury about what may happen in the longer term, identify and target these for treatment and improve long-term care for burn survivors.


Kelter, B.M., Holavanahalli, R., Suman, O.E., Ryan, C.M., & Schneider, J.C. (2020). Recognizing the long-term sequelae of burns as a chronic medical condition. Surgery, 46(2), 493-496.


The contents of this quick review were developed under a grant (number H133A110004) from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.