Optical coherence tomography is a diagnostic imaging technique allowing two dimensional tomographic imaging of tissue architecture. This is a review article on the use of optical coherence tomography in Otolaryngology including original images from human laryngeal tissue and temporal bones (cochlea) in our laboratory. Tissue specimens from normal larynges were imaged with an 850 nm OCT system. Our results showed good correlation between OCT image s and the corresponding haematoxylin-eosin stained histology sections in the normal larynx. Human temporal bones were also imaged using an 1300 nm OCT system. Limited morphological details were obtained due to the high scattering properties of the bony labyrinth.
Laryngeal cancer is the most common primary head and neck malignancy and the need for early identification is very important for early treatment. Outpatient fiberoptic examination of the larynx is often unreliable in differentiating between benign, pre-malignant and malignant lesions, and therefore surgeons often have to rely on biopsies for a definite diagnosis. This is an invasive procedure requiring general anaesthesia and may have a detrimental effect on patient’s voice. The aim of our study was to investigate the feasibility of optical coherence tomography in imaging of the larynx, which will lay the foundations for investigating its ability to differentiate between benign and malignant disease. Tissue specimens from normal larynges were imaged with a polarisation sensitive OCT system at 850 nm and a second OCT system at 1300 nm. Both OCT systems were capable of providing both B-scan (longitudinal OCT) images as well as C-scan (en-face OCT or at constant depth) images. Imaged specimens were processed with standard histopathological techniques and sectioned in the plane of the B-scan OCT images. Haematoxylin-Eosin stained specimens were compared to the OCT images. Preliminary results showed good correlation between OCT images and histology sections in normal tissues.