Design and characterization of a hand-held, waveguide-mediated, optoacoustic imaging probe for analyzing burn wounds
Clinicians correctly diagnose only ~66% of burn wounds, which may be in part due to the qualitative methods commonly employed for burn assessment. This often results in over diagnoses, which may lead to unnecessary treatments and reduced patient outcomes. Optoacoustic imaging can provide quantitative data about burns, but the methods used present limitations that have prevented the full capability of the modality to be realized. To overcome this, our presented work used waveguide-mediated optoacoustic imaging. To demonstrate this method, a hand-held, waveguide-mediated optoacoustic imaging platform was developed and characterized by imaging optoacoustic targets within simple tissue phantoms. Unfortunately, enough energy could not be delivered to the hand-held probe to image tissue phantoms that resembled burns because the optical fiber used to deliver light to the waveguide could only handle a small amount of energy. Instead, a forward mode imaging setup was used that approximated the environment of the hand-held probe. This was able to image a burn wound tissue phantom that had a burn depth of 2.18 mm, which can image most burns. Therefore, the results demonstrated that the method has potential for imaging burn wounds in vivo if more energy is delivered to the probe.