A burn that shows good perfusion, has a better chance of healing by itself: no surgery is needed. In many cases, the visual inspection is not sufficient to take a decision on the necessity of surgery. This can lead to unnecessary surgery or, on the other hand, to unwanted delays when surgery is the best option. The new measuring device, developed under supervision of Dr. Wiendelt Steenbergen of the Biophysical Engineering group at the University of Twente, has been successfully tested at the hospital Martini Ziekenhuis in Groningen. The tests have shown that the system is perfectly capable of measuring differences in perfusion in burn wounds, Patients and medical staff are positive about the high speed of the system and the quality of the images.

Compared to current perfusion measurements, the new technique is faster. Scanning techniques take minutes of time for some square centimetres of skin, during which time the patient is not allowed to move. The new technique will be capable of imaging an entire surface of ten by ten centimetre in a fraction of a second. In order to reach this high speed, the entire surface is lit at once using a wide laser beam. A high speed camera, capable of taking 27,000 shots per second, takes images of the tissue. Whenever laser light is scattered by moving rood blood cells, this is visible in the intensity of the pixels; due to the Doppler effect, a colour shift will be visible. From the resulting ‘”movie” of the tissue, a perfusion image can be made.

Apart from this application in determining perfusion in burn injuries, Steenbergen predicts other applications, for example in evaluating the uptake of medication through the skin, or in testing allergic reactions. In evaluating diabetic micro circulation problems, the new technique could be a fast alternative to current approaches as well.

MEDICA.de; Source: University of Twente