The EPISCAN is finding use in a wide range of research, testing and product validation activities not only in the wound and dermatology applications described but also in many other fields. The skin is not only impacted directly by many conditions, diseases and injuries but as the body's largest organ the skin is often an early indicator of other issuers. For example preliminary links has been shown between the skin thickness and bone fracture risk, both being impacted by collagen density, between wound healing rates and psychological stress and the impact of HRT being reflected in skin thickness changes for women. The skin can also be effected by medications directed at other regions of the body, for example steroids thin the skin.
Research with the EPISCAN has been conducted on humans in vitro and in vivo and with a variety of animals ranging from mice right up to horses.
The above of images of human, pig, and mouse skin captured with a 35MHz probe show the similarities and differences in their skin. Note there is no measurable subcutaneous tissue (fat) in the pig skin below the dermis which goes to about the 4mm depth marker; while the mouse dermis is about half the thickness.
The EPISCAN offers a range of tools to assess images captured. Simple linear measurements can be performed as illustrated immediately below, which shows the increased dermal thickness around a filler.
The EPISCAN allows the user to view and export any A-scan line from the normally viewed B-scan image. This is illustrated below with the A-Scan associated with the line marked A on the image below being shown to the right.
The EPISCAN also provides the user with the means to compare the makeup of the reflected signals that is used to create the images.
Intensity distribution plots for a dermal filler (blue line) and adjacent normal tissue (pink line) are shown in the figure to the right. The plot for the filler shows more of the signal having higher intensity; suggesting that the filler is denser and /or less homogeneous than normal tissue.
As the filler dissipates the distribution plot would be expected to progress towards that for the normal tissue.
It is further possible to determine numerical values from the intensity distribution graphs. From the two plots shown on the previous slide the following values were obtained.
In the example below the same analysis is performed on a skin lesion and an adjacent area of normal tissue as marked on the image, the analysis is shown on the plots to the right below.
Unlike tissue damaging biopsies HRUS can capture a series of images from the same location thus changes in tissue characteristic with time can be monitored. This ability has been used to assess the effectiveness of wound healing dressings and therapies and aesthetic procedures.
The above image sequence shows the healing of a chronic wound. “Wound Day 1” shows the wound at its worst and by “2 months” the tissue is returning to a condition approaching “Normal”. Using the ability to capture a series of images from the same location the impact of wound healing products can be assessed.