Special Session: New trends in imaging for speech production (Speech Communication Technical Committee)
During clinical voice assessment, laryngologists and speech-language pathologists rely heavily on laryngeal endoscopy with videostroboscopy to evaluate pathology and dysfunction of the vocal folds. The cost effectiveness, ease of use, and synchronized audio and visual feedback provided by videostroboscopic assessment serve to maintain its predominant clinical role in laryngeal imaging. However, significant drawbacks include only two-dimensional spatial imaging and the lack of subsurface morphological information. A novel endoscope will be presented that integrates optical coherence tomography that is spatially and temporally co-registered with laryngeal videoendoscopic technology through a common path probe. Optical coherence tomography is a non-contact, micron-resolution imaging technology that acts as a visual ultrasound that employs a scanning laser to measure reflectance properties at air-tissue and tissue-tissue boundaries. Results obtained from excised larynx experiments demonstrate enhanced visualization of three-dimensional vocal fold tissue kinematics and subsurface morphological changes during phonation. Real-time, calibrated three-dimensional imaging of the mucosal wave and subsurface layered microstructure of vocal fold tissue is expected to benefit in-office evaluation of benign and malignant tissue lesions. Future work calls for the in vivo evaluation of the technology in patients before and after surgical management of these types of lesions.