Dental implants are common method to replace decayed or broken tooth. As the implant treatment procedures varies according to the patients’ jawbone, bone ridge, and sinus structure, appropriate examinations are necessary for successful treatment. Currently, radiographic examinations including periapical radiology, panoramic X-ray, and computed tomography are commonly used for diagnosing and monitoring. However, these radiographic examinations have limitations in that patients and operators are exposed to radioactivity and multiple examinations are performed during the treatment. In this study, we demonstrated photoacoustic (PA) and ultrasound (US) combined imaging of dental implant that can lower the total amount of absorbed radiation dose in dental implant treatment. An acoustic resolution PA macroscopy and a clinical PA/US system was used for dental implant imaging. The acquired dual modal PA/US imaging results support that the proposed photoacoustic imaging strategy can reduce the radiation dose rate during dental implant treatment.
Atherosclerosis, the most common cause of death, kills suddenly by arterial occlusion by thrombosis, which is caused by plaque rupture. Because a growing necrotic core is highly related to plaque rupture in atherosclerosis, distinguishing between fibrous plaque and lipid-rich plaque in real time is important, but has been challenging. Real-time photoacoustic imaging requires a pulse laser with high repetition rate, which tends to sacrifice pulse energy. Furthermore, a high repetition rate is hard to achieve at lipid-sensitive wavelengths, such as 1210 nm and 1720 nm. To address the unmet need, we have developed the algorithm for PA imaging. We successfully acquired ex vivo PA images from the lipid cores of arterial plaques in rabbit arteries, using a low-power 1064-nm laser. PA images were acquired with a custom-made catheter employing a single-element 40-MHz ultrasound transducer and a compact 1064-nm laser with the pulse energy of 5 μJ and the repetition rate of 24 kHz. Acquired raw data were processed in the time and frequency domains. In the time domain, a delay-and-sum algorithm was used for image enhancement. In the frequency domain, signals exceeding the MTF were removed. As a result, SNR was increased by about 10 dB without degrading spatial resolution. We were able to achieve high-speed and high-SNR lipid target imaging in animals in spite of the low lipid sensitivity of a 1064nm laser. These results show good promise for detecting lipid-rich plaques with a compact high-speed laser, which can be easily adapted for target clinical applications.
Recently, photoacoustic tomography (PAT) has emerged as a remarkable non-invasive imaging modality that provides a strong optical absorption contrast, high ultrasonic resolution, and great penetration depth. Thus, PAT has been widely used as an in vivo preclinical imaging tool. Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is another attractive sensing technology in biological research because it offers highly sensitive chemical analyses and multiplexed detection. By performing dual-modal imaging of SERS and PAT, high-resolution structural PAT imaging and high-sensitivity SERS sensing can be achieved. At the same time, it is equally important to develop a dual modal contrast agent for this purpose. To perform both PAT and SERS, we synthesized PEGylated silver bumpy nanoshells (AgBSs). The AgBSs generate strong PA signals owing to their strong optical absorption properties as well as sensitive SERS signals because of the surface plasmon resonance effect. Then, multiplexed Raman chemicals were synthesized to enhance the sensitivity of Raman. We have photoacoustically imaged the sentinel lymph nodes of small animals after intradermal injection of multiplexed agents. Furthermore, the chemical composition of each agent has been distinguished through SERS.
In cardiology, a vulnerable plaque is considered to be a key subject because it is strongly related to atherosclerosis and acute myocardial infarction. Because conventional intravascular imaging devices exhibit several limitations with regard to vulnerable plaque detection, the need for an effective lipid imaging modality has been continuously suggested. Photoacoustic (PA) imaging is a medical imaging technique with a high level of ultrasound (US) resolution and strong optical contrast. In this study, we successfully developed an integrated intravascular photoacoustic/ultrasound (IV-PAUS) imaging system with a catheter diameter of 1.2 mm for lipid-rich atherosclerosis imaging. An Nd:YAG pulsed laser with an excitation wavelength of 1064 nm was utilized. IV-PAUS offers 5-mm depth penetration and axial and lateral PA imaging resolutions of 94 μm and 203 μm, respectively, as determined by imaging a 6-μm carbon fiber. We initially obtained 3-dimensional (3D) co-registered PA/US images of metal stents. Subsequently, we successfully obtained 3D coregistered PA/US ex vivo images using an iliac artery from a rabbit atherosclerosis model. Accordingly, lipid-rich plaques were sufficiently differentiated from normal tissue in the ex vivo experiment. We validated these findings histologically to confirm the lipid content.