Gaining expert medical diagnoses in a war zone can be tricky, but British troops in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, are using a portable 3D imaging camera to assess the nature of war wounds received by soldiers.

The camera, made by Oxford-based medical technology firm Eykona, is designed to build a three dimensional image of a wound, and uses specially-designed software to measure the size and depth of the trauma with extreme accuracy.

The 3D model provides definitive evidence for medics to assess fresh wounds and also to understand if and how the wound is healing, allowing them to adjust the treatment plan accordingly and with far more efficiency than ever before.

The images can even be shared with other doctors and clinicians through server or cloud-based hosting, in cases where a second opinion is required.

“The Eykona System proved useful in Bastion to show medical team members who were not present in the operating theatre what casualties wounds looked like before we applied dressings,” said Lieutenant Colonel Steve Jeffery, a consultant plastic surgeon who recently returned from a three month tour in Afghanistan.

The Eykona unit replaces current would analysis techniques including naked eye assessment, tracing paper and pencil, dipstick depth measurement and relatively invasive resin casts.

The device is also being used at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where military casualties are treated.

“It is often difficult to judge the size of a wound and gain an understanding of if it is healing over time. The Eykona System allows multiple objective measurements of these wounds to be carried out to track the healing progress,” said Jeffery.

Dr James Paterson, one of the inventors of the Eykona 3D imaging device, added that it is essential for medical personnel to be able to understand the exact nature of wounds inflicted by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) so as to properly determine the sort of therapy required to treat them.

“Apart from wounds received directly from IEDs, recovering military personnel may also develop ulcerations from paralysis or prosthetic limb use, all of which require long term wound care and Eykona’s technology can assist with the evaluation of these wounds,” he said.

An Eykona camera costs around £5,000, including the software and carry case. More information can be found here.