Low-Cost, Portable System Takes OCT Beyond Ophthalmology

Researchers have developed a way to perform optical coherence tomography (OCT) in hard-to-reach areas of the body such as joints. The advance could help bring this high-resolution biomedical imaging technique to new surgical and medical applications.

OCT can image structures measured in microns, making it ideal for seeing subtle changes in tissue that might indicate disease or damage. Although OCT is now the standard of care in ophthalmology, making a high-quality OCT instrument compact enough for use inside the body has been challenging.

In The Optical Society (OSA) journal Optics Letters, researchers from Duke University report how they used a rigid borescope — essentially a thin tube of lenses — to deliver the infrared light necessary to perform OCT. Measuring just 4 millimeters in diameter, the borescope makes the beam delivery portion of the device very slim without sacrificing imaging performance.

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