Toward real-time virtual biopsy of oral lesions using confocal laser endomicroscopy interfaced with embedded computing

J Biomed Opt. 2012 May;17(5):056009. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.17.5.056009.


Oral lesions are conventionally diagnosed using white light endoscopy and histopathology. This can pose a challenge because the lesions may be difficult to visualise under white light illumination. Confocal laser endomicroscopy can be used for confocal fluorescence imaging of surface and subsurface cellular and tissue structures. To move toward real-time "virtual" biopsy of oral lesions, we interfaced an embedded computing system to a confocal laser endomicroscope to achieve a prototype three-dimensional (3-D) fluorescence imaging system. A field-programmable gated array computing platform was programmed to enable synchronization of cross-sectional image grabbing and Z-depth scanning, automate the acquisition of confocal image stacks and perform volume rendering. Fluorescence imaging of the human and murine oral cavities was carried out using the fluorescent dyes fluorescein sodium and hypericin. Volume rendering of cellular and tissue structures from the oral cavity demonstrate the potential of the system for 3-D fluorescence visualization of the oral cavity in real-time. We aim toward achieving a real-time virtual biopsy technique that can complement current diagnostic techniques and aid in targeted biopsy for better clinical outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biopsy, Needle / instrumentation*
  • Capsule Endoscopy / instrumentation*
  • Computer Systems
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / instrumentation
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Microscopy, Confocal / instrumentation*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation*
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation*
  • User-Computer Interface