Near-Infrared Optical Imaging for Diagnosis of Maxillary Sinusitis

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Computed tomography (CT) is the current gold standard imaging for chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) but is limited by cost, risk of radiation, and difficulty of being performed in the typical outpatient primary care setting. We describe the novel use of a low-cost, handheld technology to deliver an intraoral near-infrared (NIR) wavelength light to optically image the maxillary sinuses. Digital images were collected for subjects presenting with sinus disease using an intraoral NIR light source for transillumination of the maxillary sinuses, captured by a modified digital single-lens reflex camera. Light intensity contrasts were enhanced using computer analysis and subsequently compared to CT findings. NIR illumination produced unique patterns reflecting different disease states: normal sinus anatomy, mild sinus disease and/or mucosal thickening, and complete opacification of the sinus. Current results suggest that NIR imaging may facilitate the diagnosis of sinusitis in the outpatient setting with minimal cost and no radiation exposure.

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