Non-invasive 3D imaging of human melanocytic lesions by combined ultrasound and photoacoustic tomography

a pilot study

authored by
Anatoly Fedorov Kukk, Felix Scheling, Rüdiger Panzer, Steffen Emmert, Bernhard Roth

The accurate determination of the size and depth of infiltration is critical to the treatment and excision of melanoma and other skin cancers. However, current techniques, such as skin biopsy and histological examination, pose invasiveness, time-consumption, and have limitations in measuring at the deepest level. Non-invasive imaging techniques like dermoscopy and confocal microscopy also present limitations in accurately capturing contrast and depth information for various skin types and lesion locations. Thus, there is a pressing need for non-invasive devices capable of obtaining high-resolution 3D images of skin lesions. In this study, we introduce a novel device that combines 18 MHz ultrasound and photoacoustic tomography into a single unit, enabling the acquisition of colocalized 3D images of skin lesions. We performed in vivo measurements on 25 suspicious human skin nevi that were promptly excised following measurements. The combined ultrasound/photoacoustic tomography imaging technique exhibited a strong correlation with histological Breslow thickness between 0.2 and 3 mm, achieving a coefficient of determination (R (Formula presented.)) of 0.93, which is superior to the coefficients from the individual modalities. The results procured in our study underscore the potential of combined ultrasound and photoacoustic tomography as a promising non-invasive 3D imaging approach for evaluating human nevi and other skin lesions. Furthermore, the system allows for integration of other optical modalities such as optical coherence tomography, microscopy, or Raman spectroscopy in future applications.

Hannover Centre for Optical Technologies (HOT)
PhoenixD: Photonics, Optics, and Engineering - Innovation Across Disciplines
External Organisation(s)
University of Rostock
Scientific reports
No. of pages
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open)