Background: Operator-independent assessment of skin blanching is important in the development and evaluation of topically applied steroids. Spectroscopic instruments based on hand-held probes, however, include elements of operator dependence such as difference in applied pressure and probe misalignment, while laser Doppler-based methods are better suited for demonstration of skin vasodilatation than for vasoconstriction.
Objective: To demonstrate the potential of the emerging technology of Tissue Viability Imaging (TiVi) in the objective and operator-independent assessment of skin blanching.
Methods: The WheelsBridge TiVi600 Tissue Viability Imager was used for quantification of human skin blanching with the Minolta chromameter CR 200 as an independent colorimeter reference method. Desoximetasone gel 0.05% was applied topically on the volar side of the forearm under occlusion for 6 h in four healthy adults. In a separate study, the induction of blanching in the occlusion phase was mapped using a transparent occlusion cover.
Results: The relative uncertainty in the blanching estimate produced by the Tissue Viability Imager was about 5% and similar to that of the chromameter operated by a single user and taking the a* parameter as a measure of blanching. Estimation of skin blanching could also be performed in the presence of a transient paradoxical erythema, using the integrated TiVi software. The successive induction of skin blanching during the occlusion phase could readily be mapped by the Tissue Viability Imager.
Conclusion: TiVi seems to be suitable for operator-independent and remote mapping of human skin blanching, eliminating the main disadvantages of methods based on hand-held probes.