New uses for otolaryngology's new scanning technique

Okay, it caught my eye because it used rabbits as the test subjects (I have a pet bunny named Angelina). But it’s a very exciting new technology that can apparently read and measure injuries or problems that are behind other tissues–as opposed to just seeing detecting masses like x-rays or MRI does.

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) was originally created for eye doctors–a “new, noninvasive, noncontact, transpupillary imaging technology” that uses a backscattered light technique (kind of like ultrasound) to let doctors differentiate and measure retinal thickness, according to the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary website. Applications for otolaryngolosits include earlier detection and possibly improved treatments for a whole host of eye problems and diseases, including diabetic retinopathy.

But the rabbit test, reported in the Otolaryngology, a journal on head and neck surgery, shows that OCT can also be used to tell the difference between scar tissue and swelling–which can occur during intubation for surgery. So this technique has promise for many other applications.