Estimation of breast burn size

Natasha Hidvegi, Charles Nduka, Simon Myers, Peter Dziewulski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


It is the authors' opinion that the size of chest burns on large-breasted women can be significantly underestimated, especially if the methods of calculation rely on burn charts, such as the Lund and Browder burns chart. This latter chart is based on data derived from only three women and eight men. The surface area of the torsos of 60 volunteers (20 men, 20 small-breasted women, and 20 large-breasted women) was measured using two well-established techniques. The torso surface area was divided into two parts: the anterior trunk and the posterior trunk (i.e., torso surface area = posterior trunk + anterior trunk). The anterior trunk was subdivided and the area above the costal margins defined as the pectoral region. These areas were measured separately for each individual. The volunteers' total body surface area was calculated using normograms, based on their weight and height. The area of each torso section was recorded as a percentage of the total body surface area and torso surface area. Whereas the torso surface area/total body surface area ratio did not vary significantly between the groups, the proportion of anterior to posterior trunk size did depend on the sex and on breast size. There was a direct correlation between the woman's bra cup size and the ratio of anterior-to-posterior trunk surface area. A simple chart was therefore derived that estimates the relative size of a woman's torso surface area once her bra cup size is known. Such a chart can be used to improve accuracy in adult female chest burn estimation, when used in conjunction with a burns chart. Breast burns in larger breasted women are underestimated when calculated using current burn charts. We recommend that a correction be made when estimating chest burns in women to account for the increased surface area of the breasts. A chart, such as the one we have developed, could be used in conjunction with a burn chart (e.g., Lund and Browder) to make this correction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1591-1597
Number of pages7
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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