Real-time photoacoustic imaging system for burn diagnosis

Taiichiro Ida, Yasushi Kawaguchi, Satoko Kawauchi, Keiichi Iwaya, Hitoshi Tsuda, Daizoh Saitoh, Shunichi Sato, Toshiaki Iwai
Journal of Biomedical Optics 2014, 19 (8): 086013
We have developed a real-time (8 to 30 fps) photoacoustic (PA) imaging system with a linear-array transducer for burn depth assessment. In this system, PA signals originating from blood in the noninjured tissue layer located under the injured tissue layer are detected and imaged. A compact home-made high-repetition-rate (500 Hz) 532-nm fiber laser was incorporated as a light source. We used an alternating arrangement for the fibers and sensor elements in the probe, which improved the signal-to-noise ratio, reducing the required laser energy power for PA excitation. This arrangement also enabled a hand-held light-weight probe design. A phantom study showed that thin light absorbers embedded in the tissue-mimicking scattering medium at depths >3 mm can be imaged with high contrast. The maximum error for depth measurement was 140 μm. Diagnostic experiments were performed for rat burn models, including superficial dermal burn, deep dermal burn, and deep burn models. Injury depths (zones of stasis) indicated by PA imaging were compared with those estimated by histological analysis, showing discrepancies 200 μm. The system was also used to monitor the healing process of a deep dermal burn. The results demonstrate the potential usefulness of the present system for clinical burn diagnosis.

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