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OBJECTIVE: The need to non-invasively differentiate between skin and skin lesions has been a goal of researchers since the 1970s. While a variety of new imaging methods have been developed to evaluate the difference between normal skin and skin lesions only limited progress has been made differentiating differences in physical properties of tissues and lesions.
METHODS: We have developed a test that combines optical coherence tomography (OCT) and vibrational analysis to image and measure the moduli of the components of skin and scar tissue non-invasively and nondestructively.
RESULTS: Using images generated by OCT and measurements of the vibrational moduli, maps as a function of position can be generated that will be useful in marking the margins of scars and other skin defects. This method is calibrated by making vibrational measurements on control tissues in vitro and the results can be used to interpret images and measurements made in vivo. Results of studies on skin and scar indicate that the modulus of scar tissue in vivo is about 3 times that of normal skin.
DISCUSSION: Skin and skin lesions can be easily differentiated in vivo using vibrational OCT. This method will allow for determination of tissue margins and extent of healing of surgical and chronic skin wounds.