Prior research in photoacoustic tomography has consistently demonstrated its ability to image structures near the surface of tissue with a high degree of optical contrast. However, despite significant advancements in the field, there has been little to no development of clinical applications for photoacoustic tomography, principally due to the requirement for backwardmode operation, i.e., it must detect the photoacoustic signal on the same side of the tissue as the incident laser light. This results in the standard ultrasonic transducer occluding the path of the inciting laser beam. Therefore, developing a technique to deliver light into the tissue, while incorporating commonly available ultrasonic detection equipment without occluding the beam propagation or modifying the equipment in any way, would provide a significant benefit to the field, and potentially improve its clinical applicability. Here, we propose a new method to accomplish this aim, using planar optical waveguides that employ the optical tunneling phenomenon to transmit light directly into tissue (pig skin) through physical contact with the sample. A commercially available, 10MHz, unfocused ultrasonic transducer was positioned on the rear face of the waveguide and was used to detect photoacoustic signals generated within the tissue as the signals propagated perpendicularly through the waveguide substrate. Unlike alternative solutions to the occlusion problem, this modality does not necessitate the use of custom manufactured transducers, expensive dichroics, or additional laser systems, and thereby represents a viable approach for the easy implementation of photoacoustic tomography in a clinical setting.