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Infrared thermography, a support tool for orthopedic diagnosis

Date:
November 25, 2015
Source:
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Summary:
The usefulness of infrared thermography (IRT) for detection and early diagnosis of orthopedic injuries has been revealed by a research team.
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Left: Data collection of the injured and uninjured regions of interest (right quadriceps with moderate muscle strain). Right: Lateral picture of the same person in which we see a possible vascular problem, this provide additional information that would be impossible to perceive at first glance.
Credit: Research group of TermoINEF

Researchers at UPM confirm the usefulness of infrared thermography (IRT) for detection and early diagnosis of orthopedic injuries.

A research group of Thermography Unit from the Faculty of Sciences for Physical Activity and Sport (INEF) at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) in collaboration with Clínica CEMTRO has carried out a study to establish the capacity of infrared thermography (IRT) to discriminate injuries and to evaluate its applicability in emergency trauma scenarios. Results show that this technology is a great support tool to correctly identify the presence o absence of injuries in a particular body part.

Today, there are sufficient methods for reliable diagnosis of orthopedic injuries: X-rays and scanners for bone injuries, ultrasound scans for muscle injuries and MRIs for meniscus and ligament injuries. However, thermography allows a reliable, faster and low-cost detection of these injuries based on the measurement of skin temperature at different body parts. By using an infrared camera, we obtain an image in which every color represents a different temperature. Thus, considering that skin temperatures of contralateral regions are symmetrically distributed in a healthy person, a thermal asymmetry in different areas can help detect or even prevent some type of injury.

The research developed by researchers of TermoINEF group at UPM was carried out with patients of the Emergency Unit of Clínica CEMTRO. Results show significant differences of skin temperatures among regions of interest injured and uninjured, for both average temperature values and maximum values.

These values are distributed according to the injured region of interest, the type of injury, the diagnosis and the progress of the injury and they show that skin temperature has a good specificity for the detection of temperature asymmetries in areas injured, and therefore this method can be considered as a reference to make decisions on the existence of an orthopedic injury.

This research has also assessed the influence of the use of ice and anti-inflammatory drugs taking into account some of the cases excluded of the general study in order to conduct a specific analysis of the effects of anti-inflammatory remedies.

Results show that, when using a high resolution thermographic camera following an appropriate protocol, the infrared thermography is a suitable support tool to provide practitioners with additional data to correctly identify the presence or absence of an injury. These results have been recently published in the Journal of Medical Imaging and Health Informatics.


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Materials provided by Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Manuel Sillero-Quintana, Tomás Fernández-Jaén, Ismael Fernández-Cuevas, Pedro M. Gómez-Carmona, Javier Arnaiz-Lastras, María-Dolores Pérez, Pedro Guillén. Infrared Thermography as a Support Tool for Screening and Early Diagnosis in Emergencies. Journal of Medical Imaging and Health Informatics, 2015; 5 (6): 1223 DOI: 10.1166/jmihi.2015.1511

Cite This Page:

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. "Infrared thermography, a support tool for orthopedic diagnosis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 November 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151125083938.htm>.
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. (2015, November 25). Infrared thermography, a support tool for orthopedic diagnosis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151125083938.htm
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. "Infrared thermography, a support tool for orthopedic diagnosis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151125083938.htm (accessed May 29, 2017).

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