On the Feasibility of Assessing Burn Wound Healing Without Removal of Dressings Using Radiometric Millimetre-Wave Sensing
The authors present transmission data, taken at Ka (36 GHz) and W (95 GHz) bands in the millimetre-wave region of the electromagnetic spectrum, for various dressing materials used in the treatment and management of burn wounds. The results show that such materials are highly transparent (typically > 90% transmission) and, in their dry state, will permit the sensing of the surface of the skin through the thick layers (> 2 cm) of different dressings typically applied in medical treatment of burn wounds. Furthermore, the authors present emissivity data, taken at the same frequency bands, for different regions of human skin on the arm and for samples of chicken flesh with and without skin and before and after localised heat treatment. In vivo human skin has a lower emissivity than chicken flesh samples, 0.3-0.5 compared to 0.6-0.7. However, changes in surface emissivity of chicken samples caused by the short-term application of heat are observable through dressing materials, indicating the feasibility of a millimetre-wave imaging to map changes in tissue emissivity for monitoring the state of burn wounds (and possibly other wounds) non-invasively and without necessitating the removal of the wound dressings.