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J Drugs Dermatol. 2016 Nov 1;15(11):1375-1380.

The Diagnostic Role of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) in Measuring the Depth of Burn and Traumatic Scars for More Accurate Laser Dosimetry: Pilot Study.



In recent decades, a number of optimal diagnostic technologies have emerged to assist in tissue visualization. Real-time monitoring of skin during laser therapies will help optimize laser parameters for more ef cient therapies. One of these technologies, optimal coherence tomography (OCT), may be used to help visualize burn and traumatic scars. When lasing severe scars, lasers have tunable pulse energies, which are made proportional to the scar thickness as estimated by palpation and the physician eye. This has historically been estimated by the clinician with no objective data. OCT is an emerging non-invasive imaging technique that provides a cross-sectional image of tissue micro-architecture from a depth of 0.7 - 1.5 mm. The signal intensity is related to the tissue optical scattering properties, which in turn is related to tissue constituents such as collagen density. Thus, OCT may provide an objective non-invasive measurement of scar depth.


Thirty burn and traumatic scars were imaged with quality, traceable, and veri able OCT data from burn and trauma patients both pre- and post- laser therapy. OCT was rapid and ef cient (approximately 2 minutes) to scan skin to visualize real-time scar tissue in different areas of heterogenous scars. The OCT image of the scar was compared to that of normal tissue in order to identify scar tissue and estimate its depth. Laser parameters were then dialed to treat full thickness of the scar.


Clinical and OCT correlation between atrophic versus hypertrophic scars was found. However, in most cases the clinicians underestimated the depth of the scar in the dermis.


The treatment of burn and traumatic scars for both civilian and wounded warriors can be challenging. As these scars are often very deep, OCT allows for non-invasive examination of the thickness of the scar allowing the physician better accuracy for laser settings in the treatment for the full thickness of the scar tissue. <em>J Drugs Dermatol. 2016;15(11):1375-1380.</em>.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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