Intraoperative Use of Wide-Field Optical Coherence Tomography to Evaluate Tissue Microstructure in the Oral Cavity and Oropharynx

Arvind K. Badhey, Julia S. Schwarz, Benjamin M. Laitman, Brandon M. Veremis, William H. Westra, Mike Yao, Marita S. Teng, Eric M. Genden, Brett A. Miles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Importance: Involvement of deep margins represents a significant challenge in the treatment of oropharyngeal cancer, and given practical limitations of frozen-section analysis, a need exists for real-time, nondestructive intraoperative margin analysis. Wide-field optical coherence tomography (WF-OCT) has been evaluated as a tool for high-resolution adjunct specimen imaging in breast surgery, but its clinical application in head and neck surgery has not been explored. Objective: To evaluate the utility of WF-OCT for visualizing microstructures at margins of excised oral and oropharyngeal tissue. Design, Setting, and Participants: This nonrandomized, investigator-initiated qualitative study evaluated the feasibility of the Perimeter Medical Imaging AI Otis WF-OCT device at a single academic center. Included participants were adults undergoing primary ablative surgery of the oral cavity or oropharynx for squamous cell carcinoma in 2018 and 2019. Data were analyzed in October 2019. Exposures: Patients were treated according to standard surgical care. Freshly resected specimens were imaged with high-resolution WF-OCT prior to routine pathology. Interdisciplinary interpretation was performed to interpret WF-OCT images and compare them with corresponding digitized pathology slides. No clinical decisions were made based on WF-OCT image data. Main Outcomes and Measures: Visual comparisons were performed between WF-OCT images and hematoxylin and eosin slides. Results: A total of 69 specimens were collected and scanned from 53 patients (mean [SD] age, 59.4 [15.2] years; 35 [72.9%] men among 48 patients with demographic data) undergoing oral cavity or oropharynx surgery for squamous cell carcinoma, including 42 tonsillar tissue, 17 base of the tongue, 4 buccal tissue, 3 mandibular, and 3 other specimens. There were 41 malignant specimens (59.4%) and 28 benign specimens (40.6%). In visual comparisons of WF-OCT images and hematoxylin and eosin slides, visual differentiation among mucosa, submucosa, muscle, dysplastic, and benign tissue was possible in real time using WF-OCT images. Microarchitectural features observed in WF-OCT images could be matched with corresponding features within the permanent histology with fidelity. Conclusions and Relevance: This qualitative study found that WF-OCT imaging was feasible for visualizing tissue microarchitecture at the surface of resected tissues and was not associated with changes in specimen integrity or surgical and pathology workflow. These findings suggest that formal clinical studies investigating use of WF-OCT for intraoperative analysis of deep margins in head and neck surgery may be warranted..

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-78
Number of pages8
JournalJAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 12 Jan 2023


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