The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

Determination of Body Surface Area from a whole-body CT scan


1Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, 2Department of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine, Rigshospitalet, Denmark

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The estimation of the body surface area (BSA) has been a challenge in the past centuries. Current techniques like 3D laser surface scan and CT-scanning, may be expected to quantify the BSA in an easier and more accurate way. Whole body CT-scans were obtained of 54 male cadavers between 20 and 87 years of age. Only individuals with intact skin and without post-mortem bloating were included. 3D reconstructions were generated from CT-scans using Mimics software and the BSA were automatically extracted from the program. The resulting BSA was compared with 4 predictive equations. We found no statistically significant difference between our CT-scan based results and the results obtained using the predictive equations of Du Bois and Du Bois (1916), Mosteller (1987) and Livingston and Lee (2001); but significant different was observed from between our equation and the equation of Yu et al. (2003). Using Bland and Altman (1986) plots, we assessed the agreement between our results and the Du Bois equation, which is the most widely used equation in clinical medicine. We found that the Du Bois equation underestimated BSA for underweight cases and overestimated for overweight and obese cases. We conclude that care must be taken especially when BSA is calculated for overweight and obese persons and new equations may be needed for such persons.

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