The feasibility of photoacoustic tomography (PAT) in imaging human peripheral joints in a noninvasive manner was demonstrated through studies of cadaver human fingers. Based on the intrinsic optical contrast, intra- and extra-articular tissue structures in the finger at the levels of the joints were visualized successfully with satisfactory spatial resolution. The imaging depth of PAT in the near-infrared region enables the cross-sectional imaging of a human finger as a whole organ. As a novel technology with unique advantages, PAT holds promise for early diagnosis of inflammatory joint disorders and accurate monitoring of disease progression and response to therapy.
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