assessment, burns, measurements, measurement equipment, nursing, nursing evaluation, scar, techniques, subjective, systematic review



  1. da Costa, Pollyana Thays Lameira MSN, RN
  2. Echevarria-Guanilo, Maria Elena DNP, RN
  3. Goncalves, Natalia PhD, RN
  4. Girondi, Juliana Balbinot Reis PhD, RN
  5. Goncalves, Adriana da Costa PhD


OBJECTIVE: To review the clinical and scientific literature on the subjective ways of assessing burn scars and describe their main characteristics.


DATA SOURCES: The Latin American, Caribbean Health Sciences Literature, Nursing Database, PubMed, CINAHL, and Scopus and Web of Science databases were used to search for studies published between 2014 and 2018 using descriptors in Portuguese, Spanish, and English.


STUDY SELECTION: After establishing the research question and the location and definition of the studies, as well as accounting for differences among databases and application of filters based on inclusion and exclusion criteria, 886 references remained.


DATA EXTRACTION: Investigators reviewed the titles and abstracts of the sample and selected 188 relevant studies for full review.


DATA SYNTHESIS: Twenty-six subjective forms of assessment were found; most research concerned the Patient and Observer Scar Assessment Scale and the Vancouver Scar Scale.


CONCLUSIONS: The Patient and Observer Scar Assessment Scale and the Vancouver Scar Scale are the most common scales for assessing burn scars and have similar evaluation points such as vascularization, pliability, pigmentation, and height, which are the main parameters that contribute to the general assessment and severity of a scar. There is a need to improve instructions for application of the scales to facilitate better understanding and improve agreement among evaluators.