Optoacoustic imaging and potential applications of raster-scan optoacoustic mesoscopy in dermatology

Clin Dermatol. 2022 Jan-Feb;40(1):85-92. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2021.12.001. Epub 2021 Dec 17.


Optoacoustic imaging (OAI) is a hybrid imaging modality that integrates the benefits of optical contrast and ultrasound detection. Raster-scan optoacoustic mesoscopy (RSOM) is an emerging OAI method that provides information about several dermatological conditions' structural, functional, and molecular features. We searched PubMed and Google Scholar databases through September 2021 for contributions relevant to OAI in the English language. This review contains 32 studies and other relevant literature. Several studies indicate that RSOM is helpful in inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, especially as it allows more accurate quantification of inflammation-related alterations such as changes to the dermal vasculature. In psoriasis, RSOM can provide objective early diagnosis and monitoring of disease activity and treatment efficacy. Multispectral RSOM, a method in which skin is lightened at more than a single wavelength, is beneficial in diagnosing and monitoring hypoxia-associated conditions, such as systemic sclerosis and chronic wounds. OAI techniques can visualize the pathologicvascularization of skin cancers and quantify their oxygenation status which helps differentiate them from normal skin. Also, they can measure the depth of malignant melanoma and detect the metastatic spread of melanoma cells to sentinel lymph nodes. As demonstrated in this contribution, there is a large spectrum of potential applications of OAI imaging, especially RSOM, in diagnosing, treating, and managing skin diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dermatology*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Humans
  • Photoacoustic Techniques* / methods
  • Psoriasis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Skin / blood supply