3D optical coherence tomography for clinical diagnosis of nonmelanoma skin cancers

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High-resolution frequency domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) stands out amongst a range of novel dermatologic imaging technologies, with its good detection sensitivity around -100 dB, high measurement speeds allowing real-time image acquisition and its ability to acquire high definition cross-sectional and 3D tomograms of regions greater than 1 cm2, providing tissue information comparable to conventional histopathology without the need for any contrast agents. Typical axial and transverse resolutions of state-of-the-art OCT systems range between 1–10 µm and approximately 20 µm, respectively, depending on the employed wavelength region. This review investigates the significant progress accomplished in the field of dermatologic OCT with respect to other in vivo diagnostic methods for pre-excisional imaging of nonmelanoma skin cancers and specifically emphasizes state-of-the-art results achieved in different clinical pilot studies. Further technological extensions of OCT, various multimodal imaging approaches as well as potential clinical dermatologic applications are discussed.

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