Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 9th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Swell New Scanner
05 November 2017

Swell New Scanner

This image shows a three-dimensional scan of the legs of a person with lymphatic filariasis, more commonly known as elephantiasis. The disease, which results in severe leg swelling, is caused by filarial parasites that are transmitted via mosquito bites and that damage the body’s lymphatic system – the network of vessels responsible for draining tissue fluids. Patients with elephantiasis require regular monitoring of the volume of their legs to assess both the severity of the condition and the effectiveness of any new treatment. However, the existing methods – the use of a tape measure, or a water displacement device into which a patient lowers their legs – can be cumbersome, inaccurate, time-consuming, or all three. The new scanner that produced this image, by contrast, is portable and produces more accurate measurements in a fraction of the time – better not only for the patients, but for clinicians running trials of new treatments.

Written by Ruth Williams

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