Effect of Forced Convection on the Skin Thermal Expression of Breast Cancer

J Biomech Eng. 2004 Apr;126(2):204-11.

Effect of forced convection on the skin thermal expression of breast cancer.

Hu L, Gupta A, Gore JP, Xu LX.; School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.

A bioheat-transfer-based numerical model was utilized to study the energy balance in healthy and malignant breasts subjected to forced convection in a wind tunnel. Steady-state temperature distributions on the skin surface of the breasts were obtained by numerically solving the conjugate heat transfer problem. Parametric studies on the influences of the airflow on the skin thermal expression of tumors were performed. It was found that the presence of tumor may not be clearly shown due to the irregularities of the skin temperature distribution induced by the airflow field. Nevertheless, image subtraction techniques could be employed to eliminate the effects of the flow field and thermal noise and significantly improve the thermal signature of the tumor on the skin surface. Inclusion of the possible skin vascular response to cold stress caused by the airflow further enhances the signal, especially for deeply embedded tumors that otherwise may not be detectable.

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