Dual Scan Photoacoustic Mammoscope
Use light to listen for breast cancer. As strange as it sounds ultrasound images can be generated using light. In photoacoustic imaging tissue is heated by exposure to light from a fast-pulse laser. The thermal elastic expansion of the tissue creates an acoustic wave which can be detected and imaged by a ultrasonic transducer. The process eliminates the radiation used in mammography, contrast agents used in MRI, and the inconsistencies of ultrasounds. The dual scan photoacoustic mammoscope (DSM) developed here is an improvement over existing photoacoustic imagers with the ability to penetrate much deeper into the tissue (≥7 cm). It rapidly scans patients in an upright position. This allows for a highly compact and portable device producing images with the same orientation as mammograms. As the signal detection is based on ultrasound emissions the resolution is high (<1 mm). It has the ability to image vascular structures and angiogenesis critical to tumor formation. The mild compression procedure increases patient comfort over mammography. The output is a high resolution combined ultrasound and photoacoustic 3D image .