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Thermographic assessment of skin temperature after lumbar spine surgery: Useful method for detection of wound complications? A pilot study.

BACKGROUND: Wound complications after lumbar spine surgery may result in prolonged hospitalization and increased morbidity. Early identification can trigger appropriate management.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of infrared-based wound assessment (FLIR) after lumbar spine surgery in the context of identifying wound healing disorders.

METHODS: 62 individuals who underwent lumbar spine surgery were included. The immediate postoperative course was studied, and the patient's sex, age, body mass index (BMI), heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, numeric rating scale for pain (NRS), C-reactive protein (CRP), leukocyte, and hemoglobin levels were noted and compared to thermographic measurement of local surface temperature in the wound area.

RESULTS: Measurement of local surface temperature in the wound area showed a consistent temperature distribution while it was uneven in case of wound healing disorder. In this instance, the region of the wound where the wound healing disorder occured had a lower temperature than the surrounding tissue (p> 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates the ongoing importance of clinical wound assessment for early detection of complications. While laboratory parameter measurement is crucial, FLIR may serve as a cost-effective supplemental tool in clinical wound evaluation. Patient safety risks appear minimal since local ST is measured without touch.

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