Quantification of thermal asymmetry. Part 1: Normal values and reproducibility

S. Uematsu, D. H. Edwin, W. R. Jankel, J. Kozikowski, M. Trattner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of thermography in evaluating nerve injury is based on the presence of temperature asymmetries between the involved area of innervation and the corresponding area on the opposite side of the body. However, interpretation of the thermographic image has been troubled by subjectivity. This paper decribes a computer-calculated method of collecting data that eliminates subjective biases. Comprehensive normative data are presented on the degree of thermal asymmetry in the human body. The degree of thermal asymmetry between opposite sides of the body (ΔT) is very small. For example, the value of ΔT for the forehead (mean ± standard deviation) was 0.18° ± 0.18°C, for the leg it was 0.27° ± 0.2°C, and for the foot it was 0.38° ± 0.31°C. These values were reproducible in both short- and long-term follow-up measurements over a period of 5 years. The ΔT's reported here were obtained from 40 matched regions of the body surface of 90 asymptomatic normal individuals. These values can be used as a standard in assessment of sympathetic nerve function, and the degree of asymmetry is a quantifiable indicator of dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)552-555
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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