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J Biophotonics. 2011 Oct;4(10):759-67. doi: 10.1002/jbio.201100021. Epub 2011 May 19.

Can color inhomogeneity of bruises be used to establish their age?

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Department of Biomedical Engineering and Physics, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Bruises become spatially inhomogeneous during the healing process; a smaller red-blue core area, caused by hemoglobin, is surrounded by a larger yellow area, caused by bilirubin, which is enzymatically formed from hemoglobin. These two areas develop at different rates and hence carry information about the age of the bruise. We present a proof of principle demonstration that the age of bruises can be determined via an inverse procedure using a mathematical model and daily measurements of these two areas using a hyperspectral imaging system. The inaccuracy found is 2.3% for fresh bruises and 3 to 24% for bruises up to 3 days old. In conclusion, color inhomogeneity of bruises can be used to determine their age. We expect that future age determination of bruises by the inverse procedure described here, possibly also including the distribution of concentrations in the areas will open up a new phase in clinical bruise classification.

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