Pressure garment design tool to monitor exerted pressures

Lisa Macintyre, Rhona Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Pressure garments are used in the treatment of hypertrophic scarring following serious burn injuries. The use of pressure garments is believed to hasten the maturation process, reduce pruritus associated with immature hypertrophic scars and prevent the formation of contractures over flexor joints. Pressure garments are normally made to measure for individual patients from elastic fabrics and are worn continuously for up to 2 years or until scar maturation. There are 2 methods of constructing pressure garments. The most common, reduction factor, method involves reducing the patient’s circumferential measurements by a certain percentage. The second method uses the Laplace Law to calculate the dimensions of pressure garments based on the circumferential measurements of the patient and the tension profile of the fabric. However, this method is complicated to utilise manually and no design tool is currently available to aid this process. This paper presents the development and suggested use of 2 new pressure garment design tools that will aid pressure garment design using the reduction factor and Laplace Law methods. Both tools calculate both pressure garment dimensions and the mean pressure that will be exerted around the body at each measurement point. Monitoring the pressures exerted by pressure garments and noting the clinical outcome would enable clinicians to build an understanding of the implications of particular pressures on scar outcome, maturation times and patient compliance rates. Once the optimum pressure for particular treatments is known, the Laplace Law method described in this paper can be used to deliver those average pressures to all patients. This paper also presents the results of a small scale audit of measurements taken for pressure garment construction in two UK hospitals. This shows the wide range of pressures that are exerted using the reduction factor method and the impact of manual pattern ‘smoothing’ on the actual reduction factors used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1073–1082
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • pressure garments
  • hypertrophic scars
  • design
  • calculated pressure


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