Background and Objectives: There is a clinical need for an accurate, non-invasive imaging tool that can provide the objective assessment of burn wounds. The aims of this study are to demonstrate the potential of optical coherence tomography (OCT) in evaluating burn wound healing, as well as exploring the physiological basis of human wound healing. Study Design/Materials and Methods: This was a retrospective study. Seven patients with severe burn wounds who were admitted to Harborview Medical Center were imaged using an in-house-built, clinical-prototype OCT system. OCT imaging was carried out at multiple scan sites on the burned skin across two time points (imaging session #1 and #2) with a field of view of ~9 × 9 mm. Due to pathological differences among burn zones, scan sites were classified into red sites (zone of hyperemia), white sites (zone of coagulation), and mixed sites. In addition to obtaining qualitative en face vascular and surface topography maps, we quantified vascular area density and surface roughness for comparative purposes. Results: En face vascular and surface topography maps demonstrated numerous morphological changes over both imaging sessions associated with burn injury, such as altered blood flow and loss of regular texture. Quantitative analyses revealed that during imaging session #1, vascular area density was significantly increased within the red sites compared with that of a healthy control (P = 0.0130), while vascular area density was significantly decreased within the white sites compared with that of a healthy control (P < 0.0001). During imaging session #2, vascular area density was significantly reduced to a more normal range within the red sites compared with imaging session #1 (P = 0.0215); however, vascular area density was still significantly lower within the white sites compared with that of a healthy control (P < 0.0001). Furthermore, vascular area density and surface roughness were significantly increased within the white sites during imaging session #2 compared with imaging session #1 (both P < 0.0001). Conclusions: OCT is clinically feasible to monitor vascular changes and alterations in skin surface roughness during the process of burn wound healing. Variations in vascular area density and roughness measurements within the burn wounds revealed by OCT offer some key insights into the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms responsible for wound healing, which may become critical biological indicators in future clinical evaluation and monitoring of wound healing. Lasers Surg. Med.
- optical coherence tomography (OCT)
- zone of coagulation
- zone of hyperemia
ASJC Scopus subject areas