Ultrasonic propagation properties of excised human skin

C M Moran, N L Bush, J C Bamber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Eight human skin samples were excised postmortem from the upper and lower back, chest and abdomen from two cadavers. The acoustical speed, attenuation and backscatter were measured as a function of frequency (20 to 30 MHz) at 100 positions on a uniform grid over a cross-sectional slice through each sample with the sound incident in a direction parallel to the skin surface. Measurements were made at 24 +/- 0.5 degrees C. Samples were then frozen, cut and stained for histological examination and quantification of fibrous proteins and fat content. The mean attenuation coefficients obtained for whole skin agreed well with previously published results. Employing the model alpha = alpha 1f" where alpha is the attenuation coefficient in decibels per centimeter, alpha 1 is the value of the attenuation coefficient at 1 MHz and f is frequency raised to the power n, mean values (+/- 1 standard deviation) for epidermis were alpha 1 = 0.44 +/- 0.26 and n = 1.55 +/- 0.12, and for dermis alpha 1 = 0.264 +/- 0.17 dB cm-1 and n = 1.69 +/- 0.084. Using a similar model the mean backscatter coefficient was defined by mu 1 = (5.01 +/- 25.76) x 10(-8) Sr-1 cm-1, n = 3.77 +/- 1.5 for the epidermis, and mu 1 = (1.79 +/- 19.5) x 10(-6) and n = 2.76 +/- 1.4 for the dermis. The speed of sound values fell within the range to be found in the literature with a mean value in the epidermis of 1645 m s-1 and in the dermis of 1595 m s-1. Significant, strong correlation existed between the spatially averaged fibrous protein content in the epidermis and dermis and the spatially averaged integrated attenuation measurements. Likewise, strong correlation existed between integrated backscatter and fibrous protein content in the epidermis but not in the dermis. Further research is required to confirm these preliminary findings and to evaluate the role of collagen fibre orientation as a source of variation in the backscattering coefficient of dermis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1177-90
Number of pages14
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology (UMB)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1995

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Abdomen
  • Acoustics
  • Adipose Tissue
  • Aged
  • Back
  • Cadaver
  • Collagen
  • Epidermis
  • Female
  • Freezing
  • Humans
  • Lipids
  • Male
  • Microtomy
  • Middle Aged
  • Proteins
  • Skin
  • Thorax


Dive into the research topics of 'Ultrasonic propagation properties of excised human skin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this