Technology

OCT goes beyond ophthalmology

The use of optical coherence tomography (OCT) might no longer be limited to the ophthalmic sector, with new breakthroughs now allowing the technology to be used in other parts of the body.

A team from Duke University have developed a method to perform scans within parts of the body that are impossible to reach will a full-sized machine, such as the inside of joints.

The technique, which utilises a rigid borescope to deliver the infrared light necessary for the procedure, is expected to provide practitioners with information that previously could only be learnt through invasive surgery.

“We saw a need for OCT image guidance in arthroscopic surgery, a minimally invasive procedure that uses an endoscope to address joint damage,” Mr Evan Jelly, research team leader on the project, said.

The scans provided by OCT include information on cartilage thickness, which assists with the treatment of conditions like osteoarthritis.

“We took the low-cost OCT imaging platform we previously developed and adapted it to meet the requirements of this application,” Jelly added.

Duke’s low-cost, portable OCT device, which was unveiled last June, is 15x lighter and smaller than a traditional device while not sacrificing image quality.

The team’s findings were published in the journal Optical Letters.