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FluxEXPLORER: a new high-speed laser Doppler imaging system for the assessment of burn injuries

Authors


Address:

Dr med. Paolo Erba

Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery

University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV)

Rue du Bugnon 46

1011 Lausanne

Switzerland

Tel: +0041/79/556.32.23

Fax: +0041/21/314.25.31

e-mail: paolo.erba@chuv.ch

Abstract

Background

Deep burn assessment made by clinical evaluation has an accuracy varying between 60% and 80% and will determine if a burn injury will need tangential excision and skin grafting or if it will be able to heal spontaneously. Laser Doppler Imaging (LDI) techniques allow an improved burn depth assessment but their use is limited by the time-consuming image acquisition which may take up to 6 min per image.

Methods

To evaluate the effectiveness and reliability of a newly developed full-field LDI technology, 15 consecutive patients presenting with intermediate depth burns were assessed both clinically and by FluxExplorer LDI technology. Comparison between the two methods of assessment was carried out.

Results

Image acquisition was done within 6 s. FluxEXPLORER LDI technology achieved a significantly improved accuracy of burn depth assessment compared to the clinical judgement performed by board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeons (P < 0.05, 93% of correctly assessed burns injuries vs. 80% for clinical assessment).

Conclusion

Technological improvements of LDI technology leading to a decreased image acquisition time and reliable burn depth assessment allow the routine use of such devices in the acute setting of burn care without interfering with the patient's treatment. Rapid and reliable LDI technology may assist clinicians in burn depth assessment and may limit the morbidity of burn patients through a minimization of the area of surgical debridement. Future technological improvements allowing the miniaturization of the device will further ease its clinical application.

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