Thermal injury model in the rabbit ear with quantifiable burn progression and hypertrophic scar

Emily E. Friedrich, Solmaz Niknam-Bienia, Ping Xie, Sheng Xian Jia, Seok J. Hong, Thomas A. Mustoe, Robert D. Galiano*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Hypertrophic scar is a major clinical outcome of deep-partial thickness to full thickness thermal burn injury. Appropriate animal models are a limitation to burn research due to the lack of, or access to, animal models which address the endpoint of hypertrophic scar. Lower species, such as rodents, heal mainly by contracture, which limits the duration of study. Higher species, such as pigs, heal more similarly to humans, but are associated with high cost, long duration for scar development, challenges in quantifying scar hypertrophy, and poor manageability. Here, we present a quantifiable deep-partial thickness burn model in the rabbit ear. Burns were created using a dry-heated brass rod for 10 and 20 seconds at 90 °C. At the time of eschar excision on day 3, excisional wounds were made on the contralateral ear for comparison. Burn wound progression, in which the wound size expands over time is a major distinction between excisional and thermal injuries, was quantified at 1 hour and 3 days after the injuries using calibrated photographs and histology and the size of the wounds was found to be unchanged from the initial wound size at 1 hour, but 10% in the 20 seconds burn wounds at 3 days. A quantifiable hypertrophic scar, measured by histology as the scar elevation index, was present in both 20 seconds burn wounds and excisional wounds at day 35. ImageJ measurements revealed that the 20 seconds burn wound scars were 22% larger than the excisional wound scars and the 20 seconds burn scar area measurements from histology were 26% greater than in the excisional wound scar. The ability to measure both burn progression and scar hypertrophy over a 35-day time frame suits this model to screening early intervention burn wound therapeutics or scar treatments in a burn-specific scar model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-337
Number of pages11
JournalWound Repair and Regeneration
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Surgery


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