This paper gives a work-in-progress report on our research project BurnCase, a virtual environment for modelling human burn injuries. The goal of the project is to simplify and improve the diagnosis and medical treatment of burns. Due to the lack of electronic and computational support for current diagnosis methods, enormous variations regarding the approximated size of burned skin regions exist. And although Simplifications like the Rule-Of-Nines-Method ([Weidringer, 2002]), Lund and Browder ([LundBrowder, 1944]) and others try to compensate for these errors, the fact remains that different physicians overestimate the BSA (Body Surface Area) by 20% up to 50%, depending on the different experience and subjectivity of the approximation process. Nevertheless, different supporting mechanisms have been developed to assist the process of burn region transfer so that after transferring all burned regions on the virtual human body, calculations can be applied in order to evaluate standard indices like the ABSI (Abbreviated Burn Severity Index), and Baux ([Baux, 1989]) as well as ICD10 (International Classification of Diseases) diagnosis encoding. The virtual body simulation is based on state-of-the-art 3D computer graphics (OpenGL).
Thus a simulation system, providing a graphical user interface, allows surgeons to transfer a patient’s burn injury regions onto an appropriate 3-dimensional model. As such, the BurnCase system improves surface determination by calculating region surfaces up to a precision of one cm2. This improves the average variation to less than 5%, limited by the precision of the surface transfer onto the virtual model.
The system already allows the transfer of burned regions by using standard input devices. For this purpose different reference models of human bodies have been created in order to receive appropriate results based on measured physical data of different patients. Moreover, an underlying database stores all entered case studies so that it is possible to perform comparisons of burn cases and animation sequences of the healing process of single wounds or whole bodies. When used as centralized burn accident registration service, a huge knowledge base of burn diagnoses and consequent medical treatment will emerge. This knowledge base will allow medical advices and diagnosis support for any kind of burn accidents, and it will consequently improve and support the primary diagnosis process of burn accidents. Thus, an enormous reduction of time and costs of medical burn treatment will be reached.