Optical Coherence Tomography as a Tool for Imaging the Sinonasal Mucosa in Patients: A Systematic Review.

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Ear, nose, & throat journal


Objectives: To summarize the current applications and potential uses of optical coherence tomography (OCT), a noninvasive imaging modality that uses near-infrared light to produce cross-sectional, high-resolution images of biologic tissues, for evaluating the sinonasal mucosa in patients. Methods: Original articles utilizing OCT to image the sinonasal mucosa in patients were identified from the PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, and Scopus databases using the search phrase: "Optical Coherence Tomography" AND (sinonasal OR intranasal OR sinus OR nose OR sinusitis OR rhinitis OR olfactory). Strength of evidence, quality of evidence, and risk of bias were measured using validated scales. Study results were qualitatively assessed. Results: Out of 1662 original records identified through database searching, 9 studies were included in the systematic review. Levels of evidence ranged from III to IV and quality of evidence ranged from moderate to very low. Endoscopic OCT systems as well as OCT systems integrated with surgical microscopes were described in the literature. Applications of OCT for imaging the sinonasal mucosa included identifying morphological patterns unique to individual diseases, detecting mucosal structural changes after medical therapies and procedures, and evaluating mucociliary clearance. Conclusions: Most studies investigating OCT imaging of the sinonasal mucosa featured small sample sizes and lacked control groups. While OCT imaging could be a useful adjunct for diagnosing sinonasal disorders and monitoring response to treatment in the future, additional high-quality studies are necessary to determine if the use of OCT imaging can lead to improved diagnostic accuracy and health outcomes for patients with sinonasal pathologies.

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