“Using sound vibrations and pulses of near-infrared light, a Rutgers University scientist has developed a new “virtual biopsy” device that can quickly determine a skin lesion’s depth and potential malignancy without using a scalpel.
The ability to analyze a skin tumor non-invasively could make biopsies much less risky and distressing to patients, according to a report in Wiley Online Library. Currently, physicians who perform surgical biopsies often don’t know the extent of a lesion – and whether it will be necessary to refer the patient to a specialist for extensive tissue removal or plastic surgery – until surgery has already begun.
The first-of-its-kind experimental procedure, called vibrational optical coherence tomography (VOCT), creates a 3-D map of the legion’s width and depth under the skin with a tiny laser diode. It also uses soundwaves to test the lesion’s density and stiffness since cancer cells are stiffer than healthy cells. An inch-long speaker applies audible soundwaves against the skin to measure the skin’s vibrations and determine whether the lesion is malignant…”