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Home / Issues / № 3, 2017

Medical sciences

Study of dielectric properties of human skin: the first experience of microwave probing
Martusevich A.K., Galka A.G., Krasnova S.Yu., Yanin D.V., Bogomolova E.B.
Dielectric properties of different objects are its main characteristics for electrodymanics, but these parameters for biological tissues are studied insufficiently. In last decades, only numerous papers were published on this topic.

Among non-invasive methods of diagnosis the great prospects are suggested for the method of resonance near-field microwave tomography, with which it is possible to investigate the spatial distribution of the dielectric permittivity and conductivity of living tissues with a resolution much smaller than the wavelength of radiation. In contrast to passive microwave sounding, for conducting near-field imaging a much smaller size of the sensor significantly increases the resolution is requires.

The information signal includes the permittivity and conductivity of the physical object. Complex dielectric permittivity is an important characteristic of the latter. The value of this quantity depends on the nature of the studied object, its properties, structural and physical-chemical composition and can be used for diagnostic purposes. The study of non-stationary processes can also be carried out on the basis of studying their electrodynamic parameters. In medical applications, knowledge of complex permittivity of biological tissues is a prequisite in the diagnosis of structural changes of the human body, in particular in the localization of inflammatory and neoplastic processes. However, for these purposes it is necessary to apply non-invasive techniques that allow to determine the area of pathology in a heterogeneous tissue structure. This requirement may be met in the implementation of imaging biological tissue based on the measurement of their dynamic characteristics.

There is scientific and practical interest to review the perspectives of microwave imaging in combustiology. It is known that one of the most important tasks for the initial examination of the patient with burns is clarification of the depth of the lesion and its borders, as well as the estimation of wound and marginal areas state. This information is critically important for the correct choice of treatment and rehabilitation tactics and its effectiveness.

That's why the aim of this work is estimation of dielectric permittivity of human skin with special device.

Material and methods

The study was conducted on 14 healthy volunteers without any skin diseases.

The dielectric properties of the skin were estimated with special program and apparatus complex, created by Institute of Applied Physics of Russian Academy of Sciences (Nizhny Novgorod, Russia). Study of this parameter is based on near-field microwave probing of examinated tissues with subsequent calculation of real part of dielectric permittivity by special program. Microwave sensing was executed with a set of probes, which allow to explore the tissue at depths of 2 to 5 mm. Measurement in all investigated individuals carried on the forearm at a single point.

Statistical analysis of the data was performed with Statistica for Windows 6.1 program. Data were expssed as means ± SE, the Student's t-test was used for detection of statistical difference.


Our experiments shown that the real part of the dielectric permittivity of the skin increases monotonically with increasing of probing depth. This parameter shown a tendency to rise to 1.74 times when matching parameter values, obtained at depths of 2 and 5 mm (p<0.05). On the basis of the received data the general linear mathematical model of the variation of the dielectric constant of the skin was created. It was found that this model describes well the actual distribution of values of parameter (the coefficient of determination is 0.94).


Our researches have allowed to establish a pattern of depth distribution of the dielectric permittivity of the skin in healthy people, which can serve as physiological "pattern" to study the tissues of burn wounds and its periwound zone. This gives a strong indication of the feasibility of application of microwave sensing in combustiology (in different periods of burn disease) and indicates the possibility of assessment with the biophysical method of subsurface sensing of the wound tissues.

Bibliographic reference

Martusevich A.K., Galka A.G., Krasnova S.Yu., Yanin D.V., Bogomolova E.B. Study of dielectric properties of human skin: the first experience of microwave probing. International Journal Of Applied And Fundamental Research. – 2017. – № 3 –
URL: www.science-sd.com/471-25231 (17.02.2020).