Imaging Techniques for Clinical Burn Assessment with a Focus on Multispectral Imaging

Jeffrey E. Thatcher, John J. Squiers, Stephen C. Kanick, Darlene R. King, Yang Lu, Yulin Wang, Rachit Mohan, Eric W. Sellke, J. Michael DImaio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Significance: Burn assessments, including extent and severity, are some of the most critical diagnoses in burn care, and many recently developed imaging techniques may have the potential to improve the accuracy of these evaluations. Recent Advances: Optical devices, telemedicine, and high-frequency ultrasound are among the highlights in recent burn imaging advancements. We present another promising technology, multispectral imaging (MSI), which also has the potential to impact current medical practice in burn care, among a variety of other specialties. Critical Issues: At this time, it is still a matter of debate as to why there is no consensus on the use of technology to assist burn assessments in the United States. Fortunately, the availability of techniques does not appear to be a limitation. However, the selection of appropriate imaging technology to augment the provision of burn care can be difficult for clinicians to navigate. There are many technologies available, but a comprehensive review summarizing the tissue characteristics measured by each technology in light of aiding clinicians in selecting the proper device is missing. This would be especially valuable for the nonburn specialists who encounter burn injuries. Future Directions: The questions of when burn assessment devices are useful to the burn team, how the various imaging devices work, and where the various burn imaging technologies fit into the spectrum of burn care will continue to be addressed. Technologies that can image a large surface area quickly, such as thermography or laser speckle imaging, may be suitable for initial burn assessment and triage. In the setting of presurgical planning, ultrasound or optical microscopy techniques, including optical coherence tomography, may prove useful. MSI, which actually has origins in burn care, may ultimately meet a high number of requirements for burn assessment in routine clinical use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)360-378
Number of pages19
JournalAdvances in Wound Care
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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