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Plastic Surgery International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 621792, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/621792
Review Article

A Systematic Review of the Evolution of Laser Doppler Techniques in Burn Depth Assessment

St. Andrews Centre for Plastic Surgery and Burns, Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford CM1 7ET, UK

Received 17 February 2014; Accepted 19 June 2014; Published 7 August 2014

Academic Editor: Bishara S. Atiyeh

Copyright © 2014 Manaf Khatib 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.

Abstract

Aims. The introduction of laser Doppler (LD) techniques to assess burn depth has revolutionized the treatment of burns of indeterminate depth. This paper will systematically review studies related to these two techniques and trace their evolution. At the same time we hope to highlight current controversies and areas where further research is necessary with regard to LD imaging (LDI) techniques. Methods. A systematic search for relevant literature was carried out on PubMed, Medline, EMBASE, and Google Scholar. Key search terms included the following: “Laser Doppler imaging,” “laser Doppler flow,” and “burn depth.” Results. A total of 53 studies were identified. Twenty-six studies which met the inclusion/exclusion criteria were included in the review. Conclusions. The numerous advantages of LDI over those of LD flowmetry have resulted in the former technique superseding the latter one. Despite the presence of alternative burn depth assessment techniques, LDI remains the most favoured. Various newer LDI machines with increasingly sophisticated methods of assessing burn depth have been introduced throughout the years. However, factors such as cost effectiveness, scanning of topographically inconsistent areas of the body, and skewing of results due to tattoos, peripheral vascular disease, and anaemia continue to be sighted as obstacles to LDI which require further research.