Knowing burn wound depth helps determine therapy and predicts healing time and potential for complications such as infection or excessive scarring. Experienced burn surgeons usually determine burn depth clinically with 60%–75% accuracy.1 Burn depth assessment methods include histological biopsy evaluation, thermography, vital dye techniques, video angiography, video microscopy, and laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF). Only LDF, a noninvasive measure of microvascular perfusion, has sufficient evidence of accuracy in predicting burn wound outcomes to merit regulatory clearance for assessing burn depth2 although it still needs to be standardized.2
This Evidence Corner reviews two recent publications that confirm the validity of LDF as a measure of burn depth among adult Caucasian and pediatric Asian populations. Both studies reinforce the accuracy of LDF in assessing burn wound depth and support the conclusion that partial-thickness burns heal faster than full-thickness burns.