Determination of hand surface area by sex and body shape using alginate

J Physiol Anthropol. 2007 Jun;26(4):475-83. doi: 10.2114/jpa2.26.475.


Hand surface area (HSA) has been utilized for burned skin area estimation in burn therapy, heat exchange in thermal physiology, exposure assessment in occupational toxicology, and the development of manual equipment/ protective gloves in ergonomics. The purpose of this study was to determine the hand surface area to the total body surface area (BSA) and derive a formula for estimating HSA. Thirty-four Korean males (20-60 years old; 158.5-187.5 cm in height; 48.5-103.1 kg in body weight) and thirty-one Korean females (20-63 years old; 140.6-173.1 cm; 36.8-106.1 kg) participated as subjects. The HSA and BSA of 65 subjects were directly measured using alginate. The measurements showed 1) the surface area of the hand had a mean of 448 (371-540) cm(2) for males, and 392 (297-482) cm(2) for females. 2) The hand as a percentage of the total body surface area for males and females was 2.5% and 2.4% respectively, showing no significant difference. 3) The hand as a percentage of BSA by body shape was 2.5% for the lean group and 2.3% for overweight people (p=0.001). 4) When estimating the surface area of a hand, formulae based on hand length or hand circumference were more valid than formulae based on height and body weight. We obtained the following formula for estimating HSA: Estimated HSA(cm(2))=1.219 Hand length(cm) x Hand circumference(cm).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Composition
  • Body Surface Area*
  • Burns / pathology
  • Female
  • Hand / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Characteristics