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Deep Tissue Injury Treatment

<< 2015 Projects

Vibrational Therapy and Thermographic Monitoring for Deep Tissue Injuries

Need: A way to monitor and prevent Stage 1-2 deep tissue injuries in the buttocks from progressing to Stage 3-4 open wounds in immobilized patients.



Deep Tissue Injuries (DTIs) are subcutaneous injuries which occur in immobilized hospital patients due to ischemia, shearing, and reperfusion. DTIs are often associated with pressure ulcers, which increase in severity from stage 1 to stage 5, depending on depth of tissue damage. Currently, DTIs are monitored by visual inspection and therefore can only be diagnosed at Stages 3-4 when open wounds are already present. This late diagnosis often necessitates patients to undergo invasive treatments. To avoid invasive treatment, we designed a two-prong solution using vibrational therapy and infrared thermography monitoring. We prototyped the vibrational therapy portion, which consists of four vibrating motors placed inside three layers of memory foam. Each of these motors can be controlled individually using a panel of switches. Our prototype fully functioned when tested on subjects weighing 105 to 200 pounds. On a comfort scale ranging from 1-5, the average comfort levels with no vibrations and vibrations were 2.9 and 4.05, respectively, with 1 being extremely uncomfortable and 5 being extremely comfortable to sit on. Future work will focus on improving the vibrational pad to provide more control over which sections are vibrating. Furthermore, the thermographic camera should be designed to monitor the progression of the DTI and provide feedback to the user through a smartphone or computer.


(Left to right) Bodhi Nguyen, Kevin Li, and Linda Pucurimay worked on treating deep tissue injuries in the buttocks before such injuries develop into open wounds. They developed a vibrational pad that aids in providing a comfortable therapy to patients with deep tissue injury on the buttocks. 

Click here to see the group's poster.