Measurement of dielectric properties of subcutaneous fat with open-ended coaxial sensors

Phys Med Biol. 1998 Mar;43(3):475-85. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/43/3/001.


A three-layer model of stratum corneum, epidermis/dermis and subcutaneous fat has been developed for the capacitance of an open-ended coaxial line in contact with human skin. Applying the model, the electrical properties of subcutaneous fat can be calculated from skin dielectric measurements with three probes of different sizes. The three-layer model is based on a variational formula for the capacitance of the coaxial probe. An accurate approximation for the dielectric constant of the multilayer cutaneous structure is presented for the inverse problem of solving the dielectric constants of various layers. The method was tested at 300 MHz with breast cancer patients who often have radiotherapy-induced late alterations in the structure of subcutaneous fat due to the development of subcutaneous fibrosis. Measurements from 206 sites yielded a good agreement between the dielectric constant of subcutaneous fat and the clinical score for subcutaneous fibrosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Adipose Tissue / physiology*
  • Adipose Tissue / radiation effects
  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Biophysics
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Female
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Models, Biological
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin / radiation effects
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena