Oral mucosa optical biopsy by a novel handheld fluorescent confocal microscope specifically developed: technologic improvements and future prospects

Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol. 2013 Dec;116(6):752-8. doi: 10.1016/j.oooo.2013.09.006.


Objective: This pilot study evaluated the baseline effectiveness of a novel handheld fluorescent confocal microscope (FCM) specifically developed for oral mucosa imaging and compared the results with the literature.

Study design: Four different oral sites (covering the mucosa of the lip and of the ventral tongue, the masticatory mucosa of the gingiva, and the specialized mucosa of the dorsal tongue) in 6 healthy nonsmokers were imaged by an FCM made up of a confocal fiberoptic probe ergonomically designed for in vivo oral examination, using light at the wavelength of 457 nm able to excite the fluorophore acriflavine hydrochloride, topically administered. In total, 24 mucosal areas were examined.

Results: The FCM was able to distinctly define epithelial cells, bacterial plaque, and inflammatory cells and to image submucosal structures by detecting their intrinsic fluorescence.

Conclusions: When compared with other devices, this FCM allowed the user to image each oral site at higher magnification, thus resulting in a clearer view.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy / instrumentation*
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Fluorescence
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Confocal / instrumentation*
  • Mouth Mucosa / pathology*