Deep tissue injuries (DTI) are serious lesions which may develop in deep tissue layers as a result of sustained tissue loading or ischemic injury. These lesions may not become visible on the skin surface until the injury reaches an advanced stage making their early detection a challenging task. Early diagnosis leading to early treatment mitigates the progression of lesion and remains one of the priorities in management. The aim of this study is to examine skin surface temperature distributions of damaged tissue and develop criteria for the detection of incipient DTIs. A multilayer quantitative heat transfer model of the skin tissue was developed using a finite element based software COMSOL Multiphysics. Thermal response of the skin surface was computed during deep tissue inflammation and deep tissue ischemia and then compared with that of healthy tissue. In the presence of a DTI, an increase of about 0.5°C in skin surface temperatures was noticed during initial phase of deep tissue inflammation, which was followed by a surface temperature decrease of about 0.2°C corresponding to persistent deep tissue ischemia. These temperature differences are large enough to be detected by thermographic imaging. This study, therefore, also enhances the understanding of the previously detected thermographic quantitative changes associated with DTIs.

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