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Multispectral and Photoplethysmography Optical Imaging Techniques Identify Important Tissue Characteristics in an Animal Model of Tangential Burn Excision

Thatcher, Jeffrey E. PhD*; Li, Weizhi MS*; Rodriguez-Vaqueiro, Yolanda PhD; Squiers, John J. BSE*‡; Mo, Weirong PhD*; Lu, Yang PhD*; Plant, Kevin D. BS*; Sellke, Eric BS*; King, Darlene R. BS*; Fan, Wensheng MS*; Martinez-Lorenzo, Jose A. PhD; DiMaio, J. Michael MD*‡

doi: 10.1097/BCR.0000000000000317
2015 Burke/Yannas Bioengineering Best Paper

Burn excision, a difficult technique owing to the training required to identify the extent and depth of injury, will benefit from a tool that can cue the surgeon as to where and how much to resect. We explored two rapid and noninvasive optical imaging techniques in their ability to identify burn tissue from the viable wound bed using an animal model of tangential burn excision. Photoplethysmography (PPG) imaging and multispectral imaging (MSI) were used to image the initial, intermediate, and final stages of burn excision of a deep partial-thickness burn. PPG imaging maps blood flow in the skin’s microcirculation, and MSI collects the tissue reflectance spectrum in visible and infrared wavelengths of light to classify tissue based on a reference library. A porcine deep partial-thickness burn model was generated and serial tangential excision accomplished with an electric dermatome set to 1.0 mm depth. Excised eschar was stained with hematoxylin and eosin to determine the extent of burn remaining at each excision depth. We confirmed that the PPG imaging device showed significantly less blood flow where burn tissue was present, and the MSI method could delineate burn tissue in the wound bed from the viable wound bed. These results were confirmed independently by a histological analysis. We found these devices can identify the proper depth of excision, and their images could cue a surgeon as to the preparedness of the wound bed for grafting. These image outputs are expected to facilitate clinical judgment in the operating room.

From *Spectral MD, Inc., Dallas, Texas; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts; and Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas Texas.

J.E.T., W.F., and J.M.D. receive salary from Spectral MD and have ownership in Spectral MD, Inc. through stock. K.D.P. has ownership in Spectral MD, Inc. through stock.

Address correspondence to Jeffrey Thatcher, PhD, Spectral MD, Inc., 2515 McKinney Ave. Ste. 1000 Dallas, Texas 75201. E-mail:

© 2016 The American Burn Association