Biomedical Research Support

Indurometers and tonometers

FBE, Flinders Biomedical Engineering, have developed indurometers and tonometry devices to characterise tissue properties. They can characterise the hardness of tissue in clinical areas of burns, lymphoedema, and sclerosis.

Description of devices developed by BME


The indurometer measures the resistance of the tissue to indentation (compression). This device is used widely in lymphoedema assessment and this electronic model replaces the old mechanical tonometer with many advantages:

  • Non-vertical measurements
  • Easy to read display
  • Data display latched until it is read and cleared
  • No separate weight that can fall off

It is being trialled (with modifications to force and plunger size) for objective measures of burn scar development and sclerosis. 


Early models (out of production)

Tonometer, Mechanical

A simple mechanical tonometer widely used for characterising changes in lymphoedema using a weight and a mechanical dial gauge [BME1428]

Tonometer, Torsional

A probe depresses tissue to a set depth or force, then rotates and measures linear and rotational force response over a user selected period of time. Strain gauge assemblies in the probe suspension measure the forces that are then digitised and then logged on a PC [BME1396]

Tonometer, Battery

This is a battery operated hand held tonometer to measure skin tension after 4mm depression [BME1383].

Tonometer, Skin recovery

This device measures time taken for skin to recover after depression, based on reflective sensor. The low mass of the measuring head minimises disturbances to the tissue from application pressure [BME1435] 

  Indurometer Scleroderma


Mechanical tonometer

Torsional tonometer
Rebound tonometer
Recovery tonometer

Publications using BME developed devices

Tonometer, Burns

Corica GF, Wigger NC, Edgar DW, Wood FM, Carroll S. Objective measurement of scarring by multiple assessors: is the tissue tonometer a reliable option? J Burn Care Res. 2006 Jul-Aug;27(4):520-3. (Abstract at PubMed)

Lye I, Edgar DW, Wood FM, Carroll S. Tissue tonometry is a simple, objective measure for pliability of burn scar: is it reliable? J Burn Care Res. 2006 Jan-Feb;27(1):82-5. (Abstract at PubMed)

Tonometer, Lymphoedema

Moseley A, Piller N. Reliability of bioimpedance spectroscopy and tonometry after breast conserving cancer treatment. Lymphat Res Biol. 2008;6(2):85-7. (Abstract at PubMed)

Carati CJ, Anderson SN, Gannon BJ, Piller NB. Treatment of postmastectomy lymphedema with low-level laser therapy: a double blind, placebo-controlled trial. Cancer. 2003 Sep 15;98(6):1114-22. (Abstract at PubMed)

Piller NB, Clodius L. The use of a tissue tonometer as a diagnostic aid in extremity lymphoedema: a determination of its conservative treatment with benzo-pyrones. Lymphology. 1976 Dec;9(4):127-32. (Abstract at PubMed) 

Tonometer, Sclerosis

Dugar M, Woolford R, Ahern MJ, Smith MD, Roberts-Thomson PJ Electronic tonometer skin deformation values correlate strongly with modified Rodnan skin score in patients with systemic sclerosis. Internal Medicine Journal. 38 Sup 2:A14, May 2008.

Tonometer, Torsional

Mirnajafi A, Moseley A, Piller N. A new technique for measuring skin changes of patients with chronic postmastectomy lymphedema. Lymphat Res Biol. 2004;2(2):82-5. (Abstract at Pubmed)