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"Selfie Stick" for Skin Conditions


Laboratory: Department of Veterans Affairs (Minneapolis VA Medical Center)

Technology: Flexible, long-handled camera that helps at-risk patients monitor their skin for pressure sores, foot sores, and other conditions.

Opportunity: The VA is looking for a partner for further development and commercialization of this technology through a license. The VA inventors are also available to collaborate with interested companies through a CRADA.

Details: Patients with spinal cord injury and diabetes often develop pressure sores and foot sores, respectively, without knowing the sores are developing. Treatment for pressure sores can run as high as $70,000 per person, and diabetics who develop foot problems may face amputation on top of their treatment costs. Catching these sores quickly can significantly reduce those costs and prevent as many as 85 percent of amputations; however, the loss of skin sensation, limited mobility, and decreased vision makes it tough for these patients to tell when they’re developing a sore. The VA’s long-handled, skin self-inspection device helps them do just that.

The system’s high-quality, lightweight camera, attached to a flexible rod and handle, helps patients inspect parts of the body that are normally difficult to see (such as buttocks, back, or bottom of foot). The camera plugs into a computer, and can display and record high-resolution images and videos so patients can monitor their skin over time—and send images to their healthcare providers to assess. Frequent preventative checks using the system could help patients and their doctors detect tissue breakdown earlier, potentially improving treatment outcomes and reducing the need for severe interventions like foot amputation.

Contact: Lee Sylvers, Ph.D., VA Technology Transfer Program

Read the VA’s technology fact sheet for more information.

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