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Lasers Surg Med. 2011 Feb;43(2):122-9. doi: 10.1002/lsm.20977.

In vivo volumetric imaging of microcirculation within human skin under psoriatic conditions using optical microangiography.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, 3303 SW Bond Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97239, USA.



There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that vascular abnormalities may play crucial role in several dermatologic diseases, such as psoriasis, port wine stain, and skin cancer. To improve our understanding of vascular involvement in these skin conditions, there is a need for a non-invasive imaging modality capable of assessing 3D microcirculations within skin tissue beds in vivo. This study aims to demonstrate whether ultra-high sensitive optical microangiography (UHS-OMAG) is feasible to visualize skin microcirculations in 3D and to quantify microvascular vessel density under normal and psoriatic conditions in vivo.


An UHS-OMAG system operating at 1,310 nm wavelength was used for in vivo imaging of microcirculation in human skin. The system has a spatial resolution of ∼10 µm × 20 µm (axial × lateral), running at 280 fps to acquire 3D imaging dataset to represent morphology and capillary level microvascular blood perfusion within the scanned skin tissue volume. The sensitivity of the system to the blood flow is as low as ∼4 µm/second. With this system, we performed the imaging experiments on the skin of a volunteer with stable plaque-type psoriasis. The microcirculation and structural information of normal and diseased skins were compared both qualitatively and quantitatively.


The UHS-OMAG is capable of differentiating the microcirculation within the normal skins from that in the psoriatic skins. The 3D optical images show that the blood vessel elongation and the dense network in the psoriatic lesion skin, the appearance of which is not observed within the normal skin. Based on the results obtained from one subject, the statistical analyses show that higher blood vessel density presented within the psoriasis lesion skin than that of the normal skin.


UHS-OMAG can be a valuable tool for imaging skin microcirculations non-invasively with high-speed and high-sensitivity, and therefore may have a useful role in future clinical diagnosis and treatment of dermatologic diseases such as psoriasis in human subjects.

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