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Probing the depth of burns.

Probing the depth of burns

Doctors have very few tools to help them determine how deeply a burn has penetrated the skin and how much viable skin remains underneath. These factors strongly influence how a burn injury should be treated. Now an ultrasonic probe for measuring burn depth, under development for nearly a decade (SN: 10/8/83, p. 230), is ready for clinical testing on human patients.

The current instrument, developed by John H. Cantrell and William T. Yost of the NASA-Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., has a resolution of 0.03 millimeter in skin tissue. "That's almost an order of magnitude better than we had before,' says Cantrell. For pigskin, the system has been able to measure burn depth that agrees to within 5 percent of values obtained independently. "Such accuracy is well within surgical requirements,' the researchers say.
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Title Annotation:ultrasonic probe for measuring burn depth
Author:Peterson, Ivars
Publication:Science News
Date:May 31, 1986
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