Multiregion thermal sensitivity mapping of the hand

Robert Wakolbinger, Aidan D Roche, Theresa Stockinger, Burkhard Gustorff, Oskar C Aszmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Previous neurophysiological studies of discrete hand regions have suggested the dorsum to be more sensitive to temperature changes than the palmar surface, but no multiple-region investigation of the corresponding dorsal and palmar regions has been performed. This study aimed to investigate whether the dorsum of the hand is more sensitive to temperature changes than the palm across multiple regions. In 15 healthy human volunteers, cold and warmth detection thresholds were measured in 10 defined areas of the hand using a thermode of 2.56 cm(2). The testing algorithm employed was the Method of Limits with a baseline temperature of 32 °C and a rate of change of 1°/s. In five subjects, cold-pain and heat-pain thresholds were also measured. All dorsal regions were significantly more sensitive to cold than equivalent palmar areas. Differences in warmth thresholds were not uniform but, overall, dorsal sensitivity was significantly higher. This study finds that the dorsal aspect of the hand was more sensitive to temperature changes than the palm, with higher sensitivity to painful thermal stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1541-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hand/innervation
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Sensory Thresholds/physiology
  • Thermosensing/physiology


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