Multi-view stereo analysis reveals anisotropy of prestrain, deformation, and growth in living skin

Adrián Buganza Tepole*, Michael Gart, Chad A. Purnell, Arun K. Gosain, Ellen Kuhl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Skin expansion delivers newly grown skin that maintains histological and mechanical features of the original tissue. Although it is the gold standard for cutaneous defect correction today, the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here we present a novel technique to quantify anisotropic prestrain, deformation, and growth in a porcine skin expansion model. Building on our recently proposed method, we combine two novel technologies, multi-view stereo and isogeometric analysis, to characterize skin kinematics: Upon explantation, a unit square retracts ex vivo to a square of average dimensions of $$0.83\times 0.83$$0.83×0.83. Upon expansion, the unit square deforms in vivo into a rectangle of average dimensions of $$1.40\times 1.34$$1.40×1.34. Deformations are larger parallel than perpendicular to the dorsal midline suggesting that skin responds anisotropically with smaller deformations along the skin tension lines. Upon expansion, the patch grows in vivo by $$1.62\times 1.40$$1.62×1.40 with respect to the explanted, unexpanded state. Growth is larger parallel than perpendicular to the midline, suggesting that elevated stretch activates mechanotransduction pathways to stimulate tissue growth. The proposed method provides a powerful tool to characterize the kinematics of living skin. Our results shed light on the mechanobiology of skin and help us to better understand and optimize clinically relevant procedures in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1007-1019
Number of pages13
JournalBiomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 13 2015


  • Anisotropy
  • Growth
  • Isogeometric analysis
  • Multi-view stereo
  • Prestrain
  • Skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Modeling and Simulation


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