Reflective THz and MR Imaging of burn wounds: A potential clinical validation of THz contrast mechanisms

Neha Bajwa, Bryan Nowroozi, Shijun Sung, James Garritano, Ashkan MacCabi, Priyamvada Tewari, Martin Culjat, Rahul Singh, Jeffry Alger, Warren Grundfest, Zachary Taylor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Terahertz (THz) imaging is an expanding area of research in the field of medical imaging due to its high sensitivity to changes in tissue water content. Previously reported in vivo rat studies demonstrate that spatially resolved hydration mapping with THz illumination can be used to rapidly and accurately detect fluid shifts following induction of burns and provide highly resolved spatial and temporal characterization of edematous tissue. THz imagery of partial and full thickness burn wounds acquired by our group correlate well with burn severity and suggest that hydration gradients are responsible for the observed contrast. This research aims to confirm the dominant contrast mechanism of THz burn imaging using a clinically accepted diagnostic method that relies on tissue water content for contrast generation to support the translation of this technology to clinical application. The hydration contrast sensing capabilities of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), specifically T2 relaxation times and proton density values N(H), are well established and provide measures of mobile water content, lending MRI as a suitable method to validate hydration states of skin burns. This paper presents correlational studies performed with MR imaging of ex vivo porcine skin that confirm tissue hydration as the principal sensing mechanism in THz burn imaging. Insights from this preliminary research will be used to lay the groundwork for future, parallel MRI and THz imaging of in vivo rat models to further substantiate the clinical efficacy of reflective THz imaging in burn wound care.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTerahertz Emitters, Receivers, and Applications III
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventTerahertz Emitters, Receivers, and Applications III - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 12 Aug 201213 Aug 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceTerahertz Emitters, Receivers, and Applications III
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Burns
  • Ex vivo skin
  • Imaging
  • In vivo burn imaging
  • MRI of skin
  • Reflective THz
  • Skin
  • Terahertz


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