We investigated the inflammatory (IL-1 alpha) and thermal (infrared thermography) reactions of healthy sacral skin to sustained, irritating mechanical loading. We further acquired digital photographs of the irritated skin (at the visible light domain) to assess whether infrared imaging is advantageous. For clinical context, the skin status was monitored under a polymeric membrane dressing known to modulate the inflammatory skin response. The IL-1 alpha and infrared thermography measurements were consistent in representing the skin status after 40 min of continuous irritation. Infrared thermography overpowered conventional digital photography as a contactless optical method for image processing inputs, by revealing skin irritation trends that were undetectable through digital photography in the visual light, not even with the aid of advanced image processing. The polymeric membrane dressings were shown to offer prophylactic benefits over simple polyurethane foam in the aspects of inflammation reduction and microclimate management. We also concluded that infrared thermography is a feasible method for monitoring the skin health status and the risk for pressure ulcers, as it avoids the complexity of biological marker studies and empowers visual skin assessments or digital photography of skin, both of which were shown to be insufficient for detecting the inflammatory skin status.
- inflammation modulation
- inflammatory markers
- infrared thermography imaging
- pressure ulcer/injury prevention