Utility of a High-Resolution Superficial Diagnostic Ultrasound System for Assessing Skin Thickness: A Cross-Sectional Study

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Compared with other imaging modalities, ultrasound is relatively deeply penetrating and can be used to evaluate deep dermal and subcutaneous structures.

OBJECTIVE

Image skin thickness of the face and neck using high-frequency diagnostic ultrasound devices.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Skin overlying 20 different predesignated face and neck anatomic sites in 32 individuals was imaged using 2 commercially available high-frequency diagnostic ultrasound devices, a dedicated imaging device and a diagnostic device bundled with a therapeutic device. At each site, the subcutaneous and combined epidermal and dermal layer thicknesses were assessed by blinded expert raters.

RESULTS

Similar skin thickness measurements were obtained. Notably, subcutaneous fat depth was measured to be 0.2 cm at the forehead; 0.5 cm at the mental eminence; and 0.6 cm at the submental, supraglenoid, and temporal regions. The combined epidermal and dermal thickness was approximately 0.1 cm at the zygomatic process, suborbital area, inferior malar region, gonion, supraglenoid area, and nasolabial-buccal, and nasolabial fold regions.

CONCLUSION

This is the first study using high-resolution superficial diagnostic ultrasound to map skin thickness of the face and neck at standard anatomic locations. Ultrasound is an inexpensive, noninvasive, and convenient means to monitor dermatologic conditions and guide their treatment.

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