In a new study, researchers found that a new virtual biopsy drive could detect skin cancer quickly.
The device uses sound vibrations and pulses of near-infrared light to quickly determine a skin lesion’s depth.
The new finding can make biopsies much less risky and distressing to patients
The research was conducted by a team from Rutgers University.
It is hard for physicians who perform surgical biopsies to know the extent of a lesion.
They are often not clear the necessity of referring the patient to a specialist for extensive tissue removal or plastic surgery.
To help solve the problem, in the study the team developed the first-of-its-kind experimental procedure called vibrational optical coherence tomography (VOCT).
It creates a 3D map of the skin lesion’s width and depth with a tiny laser diode.
In addition, it can use sound waves to test the skin lesion’s density and stiffness. It also measures the skin’s vibrations and sees whether the lesion is malignant.
The researchers found that this method can finish the detection within 15 minutes and that patients would not feel any discomfort.
They believe it’s a big improvement over surgical biopsies, which are invasive, expensive, and time-consuming.
Currently, the VOCT device has been shown to accurately distinguish between healthy skin and different types of skin lesions on four skin excisions and on eight participants without skin lesions
In the future, the team will improve the device’s ability to identify a lesion’s borders and areas of greatest density and stiffness.
The lead author of the study is Frederick Silver, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
The study is published in Skin Research & Technology.
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