High-resolution optical coherence tomography-guided laser ablation of surgical tissue

Stephen A. Boppart, Juergen Herrmann, Costas Pitris, Debra L. Stamper, Mark E. Brezinski, James G. Fujimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a compact high-speed imaging technology which uses infrared light to acquire cross-sectional images of tissue on the micrometer scale. Because OCT images are based on the optical backscattering properties of tissue, changes in tissue optical properties due to surgical laser ablation should be detectable using this technique. In this work, we examine the feasibility of using real-time OCT imaging to guide the placement and observe the dynamics of surgical laser ablation in a variety of tissue types. Materials and methods. More than 65 sites on five ex vivo rat organ tissue types were imaged at eight frames per second before, during, and after laser ablation. Ablation was performed with a coincident continuous wave argon laser operating at 514-nm wavelength and varying exposure powers and durations. Following imaging, tissue registration was achieved using microinjections of dye followed by routine histologic processing to confirm the morphology of the ablation site. Results. High- speed OCT imaging at eight frames per second permitted rapid tissue orientation and guided ablation in numerous organ specimens. Acquisition rates were fast enough to capture dynamic changes in optical backscatter which corresponded to thermal tissue damage during laser ablation. Conclusions. The ability of high-resolution high-speed OCT to guide laser ablation and image the dynamic changes suggests a role in image-guided surgical procedures, such as the ablation of neoplasms. Future in vivo studies are necessary to demonstrate performance intraoperatively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-284
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Ablation
  • Imaging
  • Laser surgery
  • Neoplasia
  • Tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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