Comparison of pulsed photothermal radiometry, optical coherence tomography and ultrasound for melanoma thickness measurement in PDMS tissue phantoms

J Biophotonics. 2011 May;4(5):335-44. doi: 10.1002/jbio.201000078. Epub 2010 Oct 15.


Melanoma accounts for 75% of all skin cancer deaths. Pulsed photothermal radiometry (PPTR), optical coherence tomography (OCT) and ultrasound (US) are non-invasive imaging techniques that may be used to measure melanoma thickness, thus, determining surgical margins. We constructed a series of PDMS tissue phantoms simulating melanomas of different thicknesses. PPTR, OCT and US measurements were recorded from PDMS tissue phantoms and results were compared in terms of axial imaging range, axial resolution and imaging time. A Monte Carlo simulation and three-dimensional heat transfer model was constructed to simulate PPTR measurement. Experimental results show that PPTR and US can provide a wide axial imaging range (75 μm-1.7 mm and 120-910 μm respectively) but poor axial resolution (75 and 120 μm respectively) in PDMS tissue phantoms, while OCT has the most superficial axial imaging range (14-450 μm) but highest axial resolution (14 μm). The Monte Carlo simulation and three-dimensional heat transfer model give good agreement with PPTR measurement. PPTR and US are suited to measure thicker melanoma lesions (>400 μm), while OCT is better to measure thin melanoma lesions (<400 μm).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Dimethylpolysiloxanes*
  • Melanoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Phantoms, Imaging*
  • Radiometry / instrumentation*
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / instrumentation*
  • Ultrasonography / instrumentation*


  • Dimethylpolysiloxanes
  • baysilon