When a burn injury heals, it can leave an area of scarring behind. As the scar matures, it can tighten and form a band of inflexible tissue. If this occurs across a joint or a mobile area such as beside the eye or mouth in the face, a scar contracture can form. When the burn occurs in childhood, the scar can cause problems as the child grows as it does not always keep pace with the rapid growth of childhood or puberty. The movement of the affected area is restricted and this can significantly affect mobility or the ability to do certain tasks.
Releasing the scar band can free up the affected area and restore function. It may be possible to do this by realigning the shape and direction of the scar or by doing a skin graft or skin flap procedure to bring extra fresh tissue into the scarred area. Each scar has to be individually assessed for the impact it has on the surrounding tissue and for the most suitable way to release the contracture.