Implementation of a burn scar assessment system by ultrasound techniques.

Yi Chun Du, Chih Ming Lin, Yung Fu Chen, Chung Lin Chen, Tainsong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Tissue injury and its ensuing healing process cause scar formation. In addition to physical disability, the subsequent disfigurements from burns often bring negative psychological impacts on the survivors. Scar hypertrophy and contracture limit the joint motion and body function of the patient. With fast development of the current available technologies regarding the scar therapies, not only the process of wound healing has to be focused, but also the cosmetic and functional outcomes need to be emphasized. Therefore, proper evaluation and assessment of the healing process to nil scar status is highly recommended. However, the currently employed tools for scar evaluation are mostly subjective. For example, Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) scar index uses color, pigmentation, vascularity, pliability, and depth of the scar as dependent variables for scar evaluation. These parameters only estimate the superficial surface of the scar, but they can not evaluate the deeper tissue within dermis. Ultrasound is a safe, inexpensive, and multifunctional technique for probing tissue characteristics. In addition, its resolution is not inferior to other measurement techniques. Although 3D-ultrasound is available in clinical application, it's still not widely used in scar evaluation because of its high cost. In this study, we proposed a system for scar assessment using B-mode ultrasonic technique. By utilizing the reconstruction methods to search the scar border, many characteristic parameters, including depth, area and volume, can be estimated. The proposed method is useful in assisting the clinician to evaluate the treatment effect and to plan further therapeutic strategy more objectively. In this report, the quantitative assessment system was used to evaluate the scar of a seriously burned patient. In order to verify the reliability of systematic reconstruction method, we constructed a phantom to imitate the scar tissue. The results show that it can achieve more than 90% in accuracy.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics

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