Optoacoustic techniques rely on ultrasound transmission between optical absorbers within tissues and the measurement location. Much like in echography, commonly used piezoelectric transducers require either direct contact with the tissue or through a liquid coupling medium. The contact nature of this detection approach then represents a disadvantage of standard optoacoustic systems with respect to other imaging modalities (including optical techniques) in applications where non-contact imaging is needed, e.g. in open surgeries or when burns or other lesions are present in the skin. Herein, non-contact optoacoustic imaging using raster-scanning of a spherically-focused piezoelectric air-coupled ultrasound transducer is demonstrated. When employing laser fluence levels not exceeding the maximal permissible human exposure, it is shown possible to attain detectable signals from objects as small as 1 mm having absorption properties representative of blood at near-infrared wavelengths with a relatively low number of averages. Optoacoustic images from vessel-mimicking tubes embedded in an agar phantom are further showcased. The initial results indicate that the air-coupled ultrasound detection approach can be potentially made suitable for non-contact biomedical imaging with optoacoustics.
Current radiofrequency cardiac ablation procedures lack real-time lesion monitoring guidance, limiting the reliability and efficacy of the treatment. The objective of this work is to demonstrate that optoacoustic imaging can be applied to develop a diagnostic technique applicable to radiofrequency ablation for cardiac arrhythmia treatment with the capabilities of real-time monitoring of ablated lesion size and geometry. We demonstrate an optoacoustic imaging method using a 256-detector optoacoustic imaging probe and pulsed-laser illumination in the infrared wavelength range that is applied during radiofrequency ablation in excised porcine myocardial tissue samples. This technique results in images with high contrast between the lesion volume and unablated tissue, and is also capable of capturing time-resolved image sequences that provide information on the lesion development process. The size and geometry of the imaged lesion were shown to be in excellent agreement with the histological examinations. This study demonstrates the first deep-lesion real-time monitoring for radiofrequency ablation generated lesions, and the technique presented here has the potential for providing critical feedback that can significantly impact the outcome of clinical radiofrequency ablation procedures.
Lack of sensory feedback during laser surgery prevents surgeons from keeping track of the exact lesion profile and cutting depth. As a result, duration and complexity of the treatments are significantly increased. In this study we propose a new method for enabling three-dimensional tracking of the exact lesion profile, based on detection of shock waves emanating from the ablated tissue and subsequent reconstruction of the incision location using time-of-flight data obtained from multiple acoustic detectors. Ablation was performed in fresh bovine tissue samples using a Q-switched Nd-YAG laser, delivering 8 ns duration 150mJ pulses at a wavelength of 1064nm and repetition rate of 5Hz. The beam was focused by a 50mm lens on the tissue surface, which resulted in a deep cut of up to 9mm depth. The generated shock waves were detected using a spherical matrix ultrasonic array. The exact cutting profile was subsequently rendered by reconstructing the origin of shockwaves detected during the entire procedure. Different combinations of the detector positions were considered with respect to the resulting reconstruction quality. It was observed that, by utilizing at least 12 detection elements, the lesion profile could be characterized with high accuracy in all three dimensions, which was confirmed by histological evaluations. The proposed method holds promise for delivering highly precise and accurate real-time feedback during laser surgeries.