Innovations and Developments in Dermatologic Non-invasive Optical Imaging and Potential Clinical Applications
Most dermatologists are aware of the benefits of dermoscopy, and a few are familiar with laser-scanning confocal microscopy. Beyond confocal, there are fully 11 different categories of optical techniques that have been applied to clinical dermatology. This article first provides a comprehensive tabular overview of all these optical diagnostic technologies and then details 4 of the lesser known innovations that are already available or still in development (laser Doppler and speckle imaging, Raman spectroscopy, multiphoton microscopy, photoacoustic tomography), with some potential applications in clinical dermatology (blood flow monitoring, skin cancer diagnosis, composition measurements in atopic dermatitis, skin rejuvenation measurement, and noninvasive sentinel lymph node assessment in melanoma). These methods present many advantages, being non-invasive, portable, and rapid. The development of optics in biological and biomedical sciences (i.e. biophotonics) requires not only deep insight into the applications but also synergistic collaboration between engineers and clinicians.