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Head Neck. 2008 Dec;30(12):1628-35. doi: 10.1002/hed.20914.

Clinical value of optical coherence tomography in laryngology.

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  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Kantonsspital Aarau, Aarau, Switzerland.



Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a new, noninvasive imaging technology for the evaluation of superficial lesions. The objective of this study is to evaluate microlaryngoscopy in combination with OCT compared with microlaryngoscopy alone (ie, without OCT) in supplying a specific diagnosis, predicting invasive tumor growth and epithelial dysplasia in the larynx.


This was a prospective study including 217 laryngeal lesions in a total of 193 patients undergoing surgery. Intraoperative suspicion diagnosis gained by microlaryngoscopy with and without OCT was compared with conventional histopathology after excisional biopsy.


Microlaryngoscopy with OCT supplied a specific diagnosis in 89% of cases, but in only 80% of cases with microlaryngoscopy alone. In particular, our results in malignant and benign pathologies were correct in 93% each, and the exact grade of dysplasia could be predicted in 71% of precancerous lesions. Microlaryngoscopy with OCT presented a higher sensitivity than microlaryngoscopy alone in predicting invasive tumor growth (93% vs 87%) and epithelial dysplasia (78% vs 66%), but the specificity and accuracy were comparable in both methods.


OCT is a simple, rapid, and reliable aid in the diagnostic investigation and intraoperative monitoring of laryngeal disease.

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