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Derm News: 2007.21(2)

Correlation of Thickness of Basal Cell Carcinoma by Optical Coherence Tomography In Vivo and Routine Histologic Findings: A Pilot Study

Dermatologic Surgery, 33(4):421-426
J.M. Olmedo, K.E. Warschaw, J.M. Schmitt, D.L. Swanson


Optical coherence tomography uses advanced photonics and fiber optics to obtain high-resolution cross-sectional images and tissue characterization in real time.


The objective was to correlate measurements of the depth of basal cell carcinomas obtained by optical coherence tomography and standard histopathologic examinations.


Twenty previously scanned optical coherence tomography images of histopathologically confirmed basal cell carcinoma were reviewed. A computer-generated depth scale was used to measure the depth of the neoplasm. These measurements were compared with direct measurements of tumor thickness of analogous tissue specimens made with a microscope micrometer.


All 20 sites demonstrated excellent correlation of tissue thickness, to a depth of about 1 mm, estimated by optical coherence tomography or routine histopathologic tests. This depth correlation was consistent across several different types of basal cell carcinoma observed.


Optical coherence tomography, compared with routine histopathologic techniques, shows promise as a method for estimating the superficial thickness of basal cell carcinoma.

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The Derm News service provided by the Editorial Consultants of Skin Therapy Letter© and its founding editor Dr. Stuart Maddin.