Precise Monitoring of Returning Sensation in Digital Nerve Lesions by 3-D Imaging: A Proof-of-Concept Study

  • Digital nerve lesions result in a loss of tactile sensation reflected by an anesthetic area (AA) at the radial or ulnar aspect of the respective digit. Yet, available tools to monitor the recovery of tactile sense have been criticized for their lack of validity. However, the precise quantification of AA dynamics by three-dimensional (3-D) imaging could serve as an accurate surrogate to monitor recovery following digital nerve repair. For validation, AAs were marked on digits of healthy volunteers to simulate the AA of an impaired cutaneous innervation. Three dimensional models were composed from raw images that had been acquired with a 3-D camera (Vectra H2) to precisely quantify relative AA for each digit (3-D models, n= 80). Operator properties varied regarding individual experience in 3-D imaging and image processing. Additionally, the concept was applied in a clinical case study. Images taken by experienced photographers were rated better quality (p< 0.001) and needed less processing time (p= 0.020). Quantification of the relative AA was neither altered significantly by experience levels of the photographer (p= 0.425) nor the image assembler (p= 0.749). The proposed concept allows precise and reliable surface quantification of digits and can be performed consistently without relevant distortion by lack of examiner experience. Routine 3-D imaging of the AA has the great potential to provide visual evidence of various returning states of sensation and to convert sensory nerve recovery into a metric variable with high responsiveness to temporal progress.

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Author:Marc RueweORCiD, Andreas EigenbergerORCiD, Silvan Klein, Antonia von Riedheim, Christine Gugg, Lukas PrantlORCiD, Christoph PalmORCiDGND, Maximilian Weiherer, Florian Zeman, Alexandra AnkerORCiD
Parent Title (English):Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Publisher:Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Place of publication:Philadelphia, Pa.
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2023
Creating Corporation:American Society of Plastic Surgeons
Release Date:2023/03/28
Tag:3D imaging
First Page:670e
Last Page:674e
Institutes:Fakultät Informatik und Mathematik
Fakultät Informatik und Mathematik / Regensburg Medical Image Computing (ReMIC)
research focus:Lebenswissenschaften und Ethik
Licence (German):Keine Lizenz - Es gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht: § 53 UrhG