A burn wound is a complex systemic disease at multiple levels. Current knowledge of scar formation after burn injury has come from traditional biological and clinical studies. These are normally focused on just a small part of the entire process, which has limited our ability to sufficiently understand the underlying mechanisms and to predict systems behaviour. Scar formation after burn injury is a result of a complex biological system-wound healing. It is a part of a larger whole. In this self-organising system, many components form networks of interactions with each other. These networks of interactions are typically non-linear and change their states dynamically, responding to the environment and showing emergent long-term behaviour. How molecular and cellular data relate to clinical phenomena, especially regarding effective therapies of burn wounds to achieve minimal scarring, is difficult to unravel and comprehend. Complexity science can help bridge this gap by integrating small parts into a larger whole, such that relevant biological mechanisms and data are combined in a computational model to better understand the complexity of the entire biological system. A better understanding of the complex biological system of post-burn scar formation could bring research and treatment regimens to the next level. The aim of this review/position paper is to create more awareness of complexity in scar formation after burn injury by describing the basic principles of complexity science and its potential for burn care professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-184
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of wound care
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2022


  • burn
  • burn care
  • complexity
  • complexity science
  • scar formation
  • systems biology
  • wound
  • wound care
  • wound healing
  • wounds

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