Date Published:Jan 2017
Conventional thermal therapy monitoring techniques based on temperature are often invasive, limited by point sampling, and are indirect measures of tissue injury, while techniques such as magnetic resonance and ultrasound thermometry are limited by their spatial resolution. The visualization of the thermal coagulation zone at high spatial resolution is particularly critical to the precise delivery of thermal energy to epithelial lesions. In this work, an integrated thulium laser thermal therapy monitoring system was developed based on complex differential variance (CDV), which enables the 2D visualization of the dynamics of the thermal coagulation process at high spatial and temporal resolution with an optical frequency domain imaging system. With proper calibration to correct for noise, the CDV-based technique was shown to accurately delineate the thermal coagulation zone, which is marked by the transition from high CDV upon heating to a significantly reduced CDV once the tissue is coagulated, in 3 different tissue types ex vivo: skin, retina, and esophagus. The ability to delineate thermal lesions in multiple tissue types at high resolution opens up the possibility of performing microscopic image-guided procedures in a vast array of epithelial applications ranging from dermatology, ophthalmology, to gastroenterology and beyond.