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J Biomed Opt. 2006 May-Jun;11(3):34032.

Three-dimensional imaging of skin melanoma in vivo by dual-wavelength photoacoustic microscopy.

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  • 1Texas A&M University, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Optical Imaging Laboratory, 3120 TAMU, College Station, 77843-3120, USA.


Dual-wavelength reflection-mode photoacoustic microscopy is used to noninvasively obtain three-dimensional (3-D) images of subcutaneous melanomas and their surrounding vasculature in nude mice in vivo. The absorption coefficients of blood and melanin-pigmented melanomas vary greatly relative to each other at these two optical wavelengths (764 and 584 nm). Using high-resolution and high-contrast photoacoustic imaging in vivo with a near-infrared (764-nm) light source, the 3-D melanin distribution inside the skin is imaged, and the maximum thickness of the melanoma (approximately 0.5 mm) is measured. The vascular system surrounding the melanoma is also imaged with visible light (584 nm) and the tumor-feeding vessels found. This technique can potentially be used for melanoma diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment planning.

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