The Relationship Between Tissue Oxygen Pressure, Skin Surface PO2, and Transcutaneous PO2

  • D. W. Lübbers


It has long been known that oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged through the human skin. Figure 1 shows a section through the human skin. One can see a capillary (filled with India ink) ascending towards the epidermis, where it bends and forms a capillary loop. The blood of this capillary loop supplies oxygen to the surrounding tissue and the epidermis above it. The cells of the multilayered epidermis are formed by the cells that divide in the lowermost cell layer (stratum basale), move upwards, keratinize, and then die. A viable layer consisting of approximately three to five cell layers with a thickness of 20–79 µm can be differentiated from a dead horny layer, the stratum corneum, which is about 10–20 µm thick. These are mean values, as the dimensions of the skin and the number of capillaries per millimeter can vary according to location. In atrophic skin areas, the capillaries are sparse; during hypertrophy the skin gets thicker and the capillaries are transformed. This variable anatomic picture indicates that there can be distinct local differences in the oxygen supply to the skin.


Skin Surface Oxygen Supply Capillary Loop Capillary Blood Flow Local Perfusion 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

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  • D. W. Lübbers

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