The Von Frey style aesthesiometer is a device that measures the feeling thresholds (tactile sensitivity) of human skin using hairs (or monofilaments) of varying diameter. The device is named after Maximilian von Frey, an Austrian-German physiologist who in 1896 performed experiments that discovered “pain spots,” or areas of the skins that are sensitive to pain and touch. His work contributed to our current understanding of nerve impairment and evaluation.
Max Von Frey charted responses to hair monofilaments to test tactile sensitivity.
Von Frey’s work was instrumental in developing what has become the modern-day version of the monofilament aesthesiometer, a series of fine plastic “hairs” that have progressively stronger bend strengths. The buckling force required to bend each monofilament is calibrated so that sensitivity tests can be normalized and compared from patient to patient.
The Von Frey Hair Aesthesiometer was an early version of the monofilament aesthesiometers used for testing tactile sensitivity and nerve impairment.
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