It is estimated that over 60,000 people require diabetic ulcerations or amputations every year in the UK alone, at a cost of approximately £650 million.
Currently analysis techniques could be described as old-fashioned in the high tech world of modern medicine, relying on a combination of visual assessments, templates made from tracing paper, rulers and castings.
Now, scientists from the University of Oxford have developed a cutting-edge 3D imaging camera which has the potential to transform the treatment of diabetic wounds and dramatically decrease the necessity for amputations.
By utilising two separate cameras and four high-powered flash units, the light, mobile unit creates a detailed 3D model of any wound or scar. Named Eykona, the system uses custom-built software to measure distance, area, colour, width or volume at the sub-millimetre level.
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One of the inventors of the system, Dr James Peterson commented:
“One of the risks of inaccurate measurement and treatment of diabetic wounds is amputation, with 50 percent of people who have a major amputations dying within two years. Through the use of the Eykona system, many of these amputations could be avoided through more precise, efficient and effective care resulting from accurate 3D measurement.”
Once created, the highly accurate 3D digital image can be scrutinized from any angle, as well as being quickly and easily shared with other clinicians via the cloud, for example.
“By replacing archaic, basic and expensive processes, Eykona is not just saving time and money, but lives. It means more measurements can be taken, in less time, by any number of healthcare professionals. They can then be shared with clinicians and specialists anywhere in the world if needed, improving the standard of care and reducing travel costs.”
Developed over eight years by Peterson and his colleague, Professor Ron Daniel, the cameras use small sterile ‘targets’ to align focus and position, eliminating potential inconsistencies and removes the need for costly, drawn out training programmes.
The robust and relatively maintenance-free Eykona system is already being trailed by several small NHS Trusts, including the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine to better care for injured combatants returning from Afghanistan, with plans for a more wide-spread deployment over the coming months.