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Objective and quantitative evaluation of scar color using the l*a*b* color coordinates

Objective and quantitative evaluation of scar color using the l*a*b* color coordinates
Cheon Y.W.Lee W.J.Rah D.K.
Ewha Authors
Issue Date
Journal Title
Journal of Craniofacial Surgery
1049-2275JCR Link
Journal of Craniofacial Surgery vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 679 - 684
Document Type
Conference Paper
Scar color evaluation by clinical physicians has been based on subjective judgments. The purpose of this study was to investigate the application of a novel photographic analysis to produce an objective and quantitative measurement of scar color using the L*a*b* color coordinates.Three plastic surgeons evaluated photos of 207 scars using the clinical scar assessment scale developed by Beausang et al. Scar color was subjectively classified as group 1 (perfect match), 2 (slight mismatch), 3 (obvious mismatch), or 4 (gross mismatch). Three general physicians quantified color differences between the scar and the surrounding normal skin using the L*a*b* color coordinates. The total color difference (ΔT*) and the color differences for each coordinate (ΔL*, Δa*, and Δb*) were calculated. The measurement was performed 3 times with a 4-week interval.Group 1 contained 51 scars, group 2 had 68, group 3 had 46, and group 4 had 42. The mean (SD) total color difference values (ΔT*) for each group were 4.4 (1.83), 9.55 (2.18), 17.76 (2.96), and 29.06 (9.45), respectively (P < 0.001). The mean of each color coordinate (ΔL* = light to dark, and Δa* = green to red) also differed between the groups, except in groups 1 and 2. The mean Δb* (blue to yellow) did not differ between the groups. The correlation coefficients for interrater reliability and test-retest consistency were satisfactory.Objective scar evaluation using the L*a*b* color coordinates is found to be a reliable method to quantify scar color. With further study, this method could be simple and effective to assess the effects of scar management. © 2010 by Mutaz B. Habal, MD.
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