Recently we showed that the Pennes bioheat transfer equation was not adequate to quantify mm wave heating of the skin at high blood flow rates. To do so, it is necessary to incorporate an "effective" thermal conductivity to obtain a hybrid bioheat equation (HBHE). The main aim of this study was to determine the relationship between non-specific tissue blood flow in a homogeneous unilayer model and dermal blood flow in multilayer models providing that the skin surface temperatures before and following mm wave exposure were the same. This knowledge could be used to develop multilayer models based on the fitting parameters obtained with the homogeneous tissue models. We tested four tissue models consisting of 1-4 layers and applied the one-dimensional steady-state HBHE. To understand the role of the epidermis in skin models we added to the one- and three-layer models an external thin epidermal layer with no blood flow. Only the combination of models containing the epidermal layer was appropriate for determination of the relationship between non-specific tissue and dermal blood flows giving the same skin surface temperatures. In this case we obtained a linear relationship between non-specific tissue and dermal blood flows. The presence of the fat layer resulted in the appearance of a significant temperature gradient between the dermis and muscle layer which increased with the fat layer thickness.
(c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.