Cryotherapy involves the surface application of low temperatures to enhance the healing of soft tissue injuries. Typical devices embody a remote source of chilled water that is pumped through a circulation bladder placed on the treatment site. In contrast, the present device uses thermoelectric refrigeration modules to bring the cooling source directly to the tissue to be treated, thereby achieving significant improvements in control of therapeutic temperature while having a reduced size and weight. A prototype system was applied to test an oscillating cooling and heating protocol for efficacy in regulating skin blood perfusion in the treatment area. Data on 12 human subjects indicate that thermoelectric coolers (TECs) delivered significant and sustainable changes in perfusion for both heating (increase by (±SE) 173.0 ± 66.0%, P < 0.005) and cooling (decrease by (±SE) 57.7 ± 4.2%, P < 0.0005), thus supporting the feasibility of a TEC-based device for cryotherapy with local temperature regulation.
An On-Site Thermoelectric Cooling Device for Cryotherapy and Control of Skin Blood Flow
Manuscript received July 20, 2014; final manuscript received December 23, 2014; published online August 6, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Rupak K. Banerjee.
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Mejia, N., Dedow, K., Nguy, L., Sullivan, P., Khoshnevis, S., and Diller, K. R. (August 6, 2015). "An On-Site Thermoelectric Cooling Device for Cryotherapy and Control of Skin Blood Flow." ASME. J. Med. Devices. December 2015; 9(4): 044502. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4029508
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