Background Current imaging methods are limited in the detection and characterization of pleural and subpleural disease processes. Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) provides real-time in-vivo high-resolution imaging capabilities of 10 to 20 micrometers for the lung pleura and subpleura.
Purpose We constructed a prototype super-luminescent diode OCT system and small flexible fiberoptic probes to thoracoscopically detect pleural and subpleural tumors.
Methods Pleural and subpleural sarcoma tumors were induced in New Zealand White Rabbits, and in-vivo thoracoscopic OCT images of lung tumors were acquired. Histologic sections of the imaged tumor and in-vivo OCT images were compared.
Results In-vivo OCT imaging offered high resolution images of pleural lung tumor with the ability to detect sub-pleural and pleural margins in real time. (figure)
Conclusion OCT is a promising new technology that enables near histological resolution for in-vivo pleural tumor detection. The ongoing development of higher resolution (1-2um) OCT systems will further advance these capabilities.