Suction blister lesions and epithelialization monitored by optical coherence tomography

Skin Research and Technology, Wiley, ISSN 1600-0846

Volume 24, 1, 2018

DOI:10.1111/srt.12391, Dimensions: pub.1090366528, PMID: 28685861,



  1. (1) Department of Dermatology and Copenhagen Wound Healing Center, Bispebjerg Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. (2) Zealand University Hospital, grid.476266.7, Zealand Region
  3. (3) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
  4. (4) Digestive Disease Center, Bispebjerg Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark






BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: Our objective was to assess epithelialization of suction blister lesions by optical coherence tomography (OCT) and benchmark it to histology using epidermal thickness (ET) as the primary outcome. METHODS: Thirty-two healthy volunteers were recruited to Study 1 and 2. One 10-mm suction blister was raised on each buttock, and the blister roof was excised. Lesions were covered with moisture-retaining dressing. In Study 1, the lesions were OCT-scanned on day 0 (D0), D2 and D4 and excised for histological examination. In Study 2, the progress of epithelialization and skin barrier function were monitored to D14. RESULTS: ET increased from D0 to D2 by 46 μm (P<.001) and from D2 to D4 by 19 μm (P=.004). Compared with histology, OCT overestimated the presence of the epithelium (P<.0001) and ET on D4. Reliable measurements were obtained when the ET of the lesions reached the ET of the normal epidermis from D5-D7 and onwards. The ET development was reflected in decreased transepidermal water loss. CONCLUSION: We found that the OCT technique was poorly discriminative with respect to the neoepithelium and the moist lesion surface material in the early postinjury period. In the later stages, OCT seemed valuable for estimating the advancement of epithelialization.


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