For a wound to heal properly, it needs sufficient blood flow and oxygen to the surrounding tissue. Doctors can use a painless, noninvasive method for measuring the level of oxygen in tissue by performing transcutaneous oxygen measurement. Along with ultrasound, transcutaneous oxygen measurement also helps doctors examine blood flow, since blood carries oxygen to the tissues.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center wound care experts use this test to evaluate circulation, determine your tissue’s healing capacity and decide which treatments would be best. Your doctor may choose treatments such as minimally invasive vascular procedures or hyperbaric oxygen therapy as the most effective way to treat your non-healing wounds, including diabetic foot ulcers.

How the Test Is Performed

You’ll lie on an exam table for the test. The technologist will clean the testing area on your body with alcohol, shaving the area if necessary. He or she will apply a gel, which conducts electrical impulses, and apply adhesive patches that hold oxygen-sensing electrodes. The electrodes need to remain on the skin for at least 20 minutes to heat the area and widen the capillaries to allow oxygen to flow freely. The readings from the electrodes are displayed on a monitor and recorded. The exam usually takes about 45 minutes.

Your Ohio State doctor may use transcutaneous oxygen measurement to:
  • Measure the healing capacity of tissue surrounding a wound to help plan treatment
  • Diagnose and assess peripheral arterial disease and plan appropriate treatment
  • Plan re-vascularization procedures to improve blood flow to affected tissues
  • Determine whether hyperbaric oxygen therapy will be an effective treatment

Doctors at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Wound Center also use transcutaneous oxygen measurement to evaluate treatment progress to assure the effectiveness of your care program. This exam can give your doctor valuable information about how your wound responds to various therapies.

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