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Lasers Surg Med. 2018 Mar;50(3):183-193. doi: 10.1002/lsm.22788. Epub 2018 Jan 22.

Optical coherence tomography angiography of normal skin and inflammatory dermatologic conditions.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, 3720 15th Ave. N.E., Seattle, Washington 98195.
School of Medicine, University of Washington, 1959 N.E. Pacific St., Seattle, Washington 98195.
Division of Dermatology and Dermatopathology, University of Washington, 1959 N.E. Pacific St., Seattle, Washington 98195.
Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Ave. N., Seattle, Washington 98109.



In clinical dermatology, the identification of subsurface vascular and structural features known to be associated with numerous cutaneous pathologies remains challenging without the use of invasive diagnostic tools.


To present an advanced optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) method to directly visualize capillary-level vascular and structural features within skin in vivo.


An advanced OCTA system with a 1310 nm wavelength was used to image the microvascular and structural features of various skin conditions. Subjects were enrolled and OCTA imaging was performed with a field of view of approximately 10 × 10 mm. Skin blood flow was identified using an optical microangiography (OMAG) algorithm. Depth-resolved microvascular networks and structural features were derived from segmented volume scans, representing tissue slabs of 0-132, 132-330, and 330-924 μm, measured from the surface of the skin.


Subjects with both healthy and pathological conditions, such as benign skin lesions, psoriasis, chronic graft-versus-host-disease (cGvHD), and scleroderma, were OCTA scanned. Our OCTA results detailed variations in vascularization and local anatomical characteristics, for example, depth-dependent vascular, and structural alterations in psoriatic skin, alongside their resolve over time; vascular density changes and distribution irregularities, together with corresponding structural depositions in the skin of cGvHD patients; and vascular abnormalities in the nail folds of a patient with scleroderma.


OCTA can image capillary blood flow and structural features within skin in vivo, which has the potential to provide new insights into the pathophysiology, as well as dynamic changes of skin diseases, valuable for diagnoses, and non-invasive monitoring of disease progression and treatment. Lasers Surg. Med. 50:183-193, 2018. © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


OCT angiography; graft-versus-hostdisease; optical coherence tomography; psoriasis; scleroderma; skin conditions

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