Rating the Resolving Hypertrophic Scar: Comparison of the Vancouver Scar Scale and Scar Volume

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The increased focus of research interests and clinical documentation on outcomes demands that evaluation tools provide reliable and valid data. The Vancouver Scar Scale (VSS) was developed to provide a more objective measurement of burn scars; however, the validity (a test's ability to measure the phenomenon for which it was designed) of the VSS has not been tested. To examine the construct validity of the VSS, we compared it with scar volume, which has established face validity. Burn scars were evaluated monthly for a minimum of 7 months. Three scar volume measurements were performed on each scar. In addition, 3 independent examiners completed the VSS for the same scar. The data generated by these 2 measurements were used to establish the following: (1) the interrater agreement estimated by interclass correlation coefficient, (2) convergence validity, (3) the sensitivity of the assessments to discriminate changes in the scar over time, and (4) the prevalence of related parameters that are not currently being captured by the VSS. In an attempt to address some of the deficiencies of the VSS, we propose several modifications. We anticipate that these changes will increase the reliability and validity of the VSS through an increase in the awareness that training in the use of this scale is required, through improvement in the quality of the subscales, and through the documentation of additional pertinent information. (J Burn Care Rehabil 2000;21:205-12)

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