Comparison of high frequency ultrasound and optical coherence tomography as modalities for high resolution and non invasive skin imaging

M Vogt, A Knüttel, K Hoffmann, P Altmeyer, H Ermert
Biomedizinische Technik. Biomedical Engineering 2003, 48 (5): 116-21
High frequency ultrasound (HFUS) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) are techniques for high resolution imaging of tissues. The penetration depth of these modalities is limited, but it is sufficiently large enough for non invasive skin imaging. HFUS and OCT are based on the same concept. Waves (ultrasonic waves, respectively light waves) propagate along a narrow beam, are backscattered at tissue inhomogeneities and analyzed over time of flight to obtain spatially resolved morphological information. The objective of this paper is to compare HFUS and OCT in terms of resolution, dynamic range and contrast and to assess their value as tools for high resolution skin imaging. Measurements on phantoms and in vivo have been performed with a 100 MHz ultrasound system and an OCT-scanner working in the near infrared spectrum at 1300 nm wave-length. From the measurements, it can be concluded that OCT delivers an almost isotropic resolution (axial resolution about 5.8 microns, lateral resolution about 4.1 microns), whereas the resolution of the investigated HFUS system is more anisotropic (axial resolution about 9.3 microns, lateral resolution about 60 microns). HFUS and OCT show different penetration depths and a different contrast. Both techniques can, therefore, be combined advantageously in a multimodality approach to account for their individual characteristics.

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