Cutaneous Imaging Technologies in Acute Burn and Chronic Wound Care

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Abstract

Background:

Wound assessment relies on visual evaluation by physicians. Such assessment is largely subjective and presents the opportunity to explore the use of emergent technologies.

Methods:

Emergent and powerful noninvasive imaging technologies applicable to assess burn and chronic wounds are reviewed.

Results:

The need to estimate wound depth is critical in both chronic wound and burn injury settings. Harmonic ultrasound technology is powerful to study wound depth. It addresses the limitations of optical imaging with limited depth of penetration. What if a wound appears epithelialized by visual inspection, which shows no discharge yet is covered by repaired skin that lacks barrier function? In this case although the wound is closed as defined by current standards, it remains functionally open, presenting the risk of infection and other postclosure complications. Thus, assessment of skin barrier function is valuable in the context of assessing wound closure. Options for the study of tissue vascularization are many. If noncontact and noninvasive criteria are of importance, laser speckle imaging is powerful. Fluorescence imaging is standard in several clinical settings and is likely to serve the wound clinics well as long as indocyanine green injection is not of concern. A major advantage of harmonic ultrasound imaging of wound depth is that the same system is capable of providing information on blood flow dynamics in arterial perforators.

Conclusion:

With many productive imaging platforms to choose from, wound care is about to be transformed by technology that would help assess wound severity.

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