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The University of Southampton
Institute for Life Sciences

Research project: Skin Health Sensing

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This research aims to investigate a system of skin health monitoring that is suitable for long term use by patients at risk of undetected skin damage. In particular this research will focus on problems associated with diabetic foot ulceration.

Around 100 leg amputations are performed each week in the UK and 80% will be on people with diabetes. However, 85% of these amputations are avoidable. Amputation is largely due to skin failure caused by excessive stress on the tissue, neuropathy preventing the person feeling the damage and vascular disease slowing or preventing the healing process.

"Every 30 seconds a lower limb is lost somewhere in the world as a consequence of diabetes" Boulton et al 2005 (Lancet).

This research aims to investigate a system of skin health monitoring that is suitable for long-term use by patients at risk of tissue breakdown. It will focus on techniques to identify the state of tissue health rather than the forces it experiences and concentrate on the plantar skin of the diabetic foot. Although by no means the only application for the proposed technology, there is an unmet and pressing need to provide additional support for diabetic people at risk of developing ulceration. The project will explore novel sensing technologies at the skin/environmental boundary including, but not limited to, bio-impedance, such as skin temperature, moisture, blood flow and oxygenation.

Related research groups

Bioengineering Science
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