Establishing Burn Depths

Determining the extent of a burn injury is difficult from visual inspection. At stake is a surgical procedure should the underlying blood vessels not be receiving the amount of oxygen needed for the surrounding tissue to regenerate. The National Research Council Canada has filed for a patent (www.sensorsmag.com/1206/RDPatent) for a noninvasive probe that would shine an intense beam of white light at the burn and pick up the reflected signal with four IR detectors. The detector nearest the skin would detect the reflection from a shallow depth; the other three would capture light scattered wider by deeper layers of flesh. A rosy color detected by the receptors would indicate the presence of oxygenated hemoglobin. Less light would indicate poor blood supply and less oxygen. (www.sensorsmag.com/1206/RDBurn)

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