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Published September 21, 2006 | Published
Journal Article Open

Imaging acute thermal burns by photoacoustic microscopy


The clinical significance of a burn depends on the percentage of total body involved and the depth of the burn. Hence a noninvasive method that is able to evaluate burn depth would be of great help in clinical evaluation. To this end, photoacoustic microscopy is used to determine the depth of acute thermal burns by imaging the total hemoglobin concentration in the blood that accumulates along the boundaries of injuries as a result of thermal damage to the vasculature. We induce acute thermal burns in vivo on pig skin with cautery. Photoacoustic images of the burns are acquired after skin excision. In a burn treated at 175°C for 20s, the maximum imaged burn depth is 1.73±0.07mm. In burns treated at 150°C for 5, 10, 20, and 30s, respectively, the trend of increasing maximum burn depth with longer thermal exposure is demonstrated.

Additional Information

© 2006 SPIE. Received May 18, 2006; Revised July 17, 2006; Accepted July 19, 2006; Published September 21, 2006; Online September 21, 2006. We thank Dr. Geng Ku and Xueyi Xie for experimental assistance. This project is sponsored by National Institutes of Health grants R01 EB000712 and R01 NS46214.

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