Practical determination of the body surface is a question of the highest importance, as indicated by the numerous contributions on the subject. The present discussion deals with a practical method for making such determinations. First, however, it is well to review the work of the physiologists, which is employed by physicians as a basis.
Recent clinical studies of the basal metabolism have confirmed the importance of the law that surface is an important factor in animal thermogenesis.1 This law, perceived by Bergman,2 in 1848, was first fully formulated by Rubner,3 in 1883, following his combustion tests, and by Richet,4 whose studies of 1884 and 1885 refer to calorimetric measurements. It shows that animal thermogenesis is fundamentally expressed in terms of the cutaneous surface, and not on the volume or weight. Figures obtained by various observers appear in the accompanying table.
This table shows the practical constancy of heat expenditure per