Thyroid nodules assessed with ultrasound and fine-needle aspiration biopsy are diagnosed as “suspicious” or “indeterminate” in 15%–20% of the cases. Typically, total thyroidectomy is performed in such cases; however, only 25%–50% are found to be cancerous upon final histopathologic analysis. Here we demonstrate optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging of the human thyroid as a potential intraoperative imaging tool for providing tissue assessment in real time during surgical procedures. Fresh excised tissue specimens from 28 patients undergoing thyroid surgery were imaged in the laboratory using a benchtop OCT system. Three-dimensional OCT images showed different microstructural features in normal, benign, and malignant thyroid tissues. A similar portable OCT system was then designed and constructed for use in the operating room, and intraoperative imaging of excised thyroid tissue from 6 patients was performed during the surgical procedure. The results demonstrate the potential of OCT to provide real-time imaging guidance during thyroid surgeries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-24
Number of pages12
JournalTranslational Research
StatePublished - May 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Biochemistry, medical


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