Ultrasound imaging is widely used to guide minimally invasive procedures, but the visualization of the invasive medical device and the procedure’s target is often challenging. Photoacoustic imaging has shown great promise for guiding minimally invasive procedures, but clinical translation of this technology has often been limited by bulky and expensive excitation sources. In this work, we demonstrate the feasibility of guiding minimally invasive procedures using a dual-mode photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging system with excitation from compact arrays of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) at 850 nm. Three validation experiments were performed. First, clinical metal needles inserted into biological tissue were imaged. Second, the imaging depth of the system was characterized using a blood-vessel-mimicking phantom. Third, the superficial vasculature in human volunteers was imaged. It was found that photoacoustic imaging enabled needle visualization with signal-to-noise ratios that were 1.2 to 2.2 times higher than those obtained with ultrasound imaging, over insertion angles of 26 to 51 degrees. With the blood vessel mimicking phantom, the maximum imaging depth was 38 mm. The superficial vasculature of a human middle finger and a human wrist were clearly visualized in real-time. We conclude that the LED-based system is promising for guiding minimally invasive procedures with peripheral tissue targets.
- Minimally invasive procedures
- Needle guidance
- Photoacoustic imaging