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Emerging applications for OCT in the head and neck

Published Web Location Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Objectives: To describe the current and promising new applications of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) as a helpful tool when imaging the different sites in the head and neck. We used the OCT Niris system, which is the first commercially available OCT device for applications outside the field of ophthalmology. Methods: OCT images were obtained of normal, benign, premalignant and malignant lesions in different areas of the head and neck. The OCT imaging system has a tissue penetration depth of approximately 1-2mm, a scanning range of 2mm and a spatial depth resolution of approximately 10-20μm. Imaging was performed using a flexible probe in two different settings, the outpatient clinic and the operating room. Results: High-resolution cross-sectional images from the larynx were obtained with the patient awake, without the need for general anesthesia, under direct visualization with a flexible fiberoptic endoscope. The OCT probe was inserted through the nasal cavity and placed in slight contact with the laryngeal tissue. In the ears, cholesteatoma was differentiated from inflamed middle ear mucosa by the different hyperintensity. In the neck, normal as well as different pathologies of the thyroid were identified. Conclusions: This system is non invasive and easy to incorporate into the operating room setting as well as the outpatient clinic. It requires minimal set-up and only one person is required to operate the system. OCT has the distinctive capability to obtain highresolution images, and the microanatomy of different sites can be observed. OCT technology has the potential to offer a quick, efficient and reliable imaging method to help the surgeon not only in the operating room but also in the clinical setting to guide surgical biopsies and aid in clinical decision making of different head and neck pathologies, especially those arising form the larynx. © 2010 Copyright SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering.

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