Photoacoustic Imaging for Image-guided Endovenous Laser Ablation Procedures

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Accurate fiber tip tracking is a critical clinical problem during endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) of small perforating veins. Currently, ultrasound (US) imaging is the gold-standard modality for visualizing and for accurately placing the ablation fiber within the diseased vein. However, US imaging has limitations such as angular dependency and comet tail artifacts. In addition, EVLA is often performed without any real-time temperature monitoring, which could lead to an insufficient thermal dose or overheating the surrounding tissue. We propose a new technique that combines US and photoacoustic (PA) imaging for concurrent ablation fiber tip tracking and real-time temperature monitoring during EVLA procedures. Our intended implementation of PA imaging for fiber tracking requires minimal modification of existing systems, which makes this technology easy to adopt. Combining US and PA imaging modalities allows for simultaneous visualization of background anatomical structures as well as high contrast, artifact-free, and angle-independent localization of the ablation fiber tip. Preliminary data demonstrates that changes in the amplitude of the PA signal can be used to monitor the localized temperature at the tip of the ablation fiber, which will be invaluable during EVLA procedures. These improvements can enhance the physician's accuracy in performing EVLA procedures and will have a significant impact on the treatment outcomes.


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