Table of Contents
ISRN Dermatology
Volume 2013, Article ID 841217, 7 pages
Clinical Study

In Vivo Evaluation of the Skin Tensile Strength by the Suction Method: Pilot Study Coping with Hysteresis and Creep Extension

1Laboratory of Skin Bioingineering and Imaging (LABIC), Department of Clinical Sciences, Liège University, 4000 Liège, Belgium
2Telecommunications and Imaging Laboratory INTELSIG, Montefiore Institute, Liège University, 4000 Liège, Belgium
3Department of Dermatopathology, Unilab Lg, Liège University Hospital, 4000 Liège, Belgium

Received 3 June 2013; Accepted 10 July 2013

Academic Editors: C. Feliciani and T. J. Ryan

Copyright © 2013 Gérald E. Piérard et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


From an engineering standpoint, both the skin and subcutaneous tissue act as interconnected load-transmitting structures. They are subject to a variety of intrinsic and environmental influences. Changes in the cutaneous viscoelasticity represent an important aspect in a series of skin conditions. The aim of this work was to explore the methodology of biomechanical measurements in order to better appreciate the evolution and severity of some connective tissue diseases. The Cutometer MPA 580 (C+K electronic) was used in the steep and progressive suction procedures. Adapting measurement modalities was explored in order to mitigate any variability in data collection. The repeat steep suction procedure conveniently reveals the creep phenomenon. By contrast, the progressive suction procedure highlights the hysteresis phenomenon. These viscoelastic characteristics are presently described using the 2 and 4 mm probes on normal skin and in scleroderma, acromegaly, corticosteroid-induced dermatoporosis, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The apposition of an additional outer contention on the skin altered differently the manifestations of the creep extension and hysteresis among the tested skin conditions. Any change in the mechanical test procedure affects the data. In clinical and experimental settings, it is mandatory to adhere to a strict and controlled protocol.