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Abstract

Background  Optical coherence tomography (OCT) allows real-time, in vivo examination of basal cell carcinoma (BCC). A new high definition OCT with high lateral and axial resolution in a horizontal (en-face) and vertical (slice) imaging mode offers additional information in the diagnosis of BCC and may potentially replace invasive diagnostic biopsies.

Objectives  To define the characteristic morphologic features of BCC by using high definition optical coherence tomography (HD-OCT) compared to conventional histology.

Methods  A total of 22 BCCs were examined preoperatively by HD-OCT in the en-face and slice imaging mode and characteristic features were evaluated in comparison to the histopathological findings.

Results  The following features were found in the en-face mode of HD-OCT: lobulated nodules (20/22), peripheral rimming (17/22), epidermal disarray (21/22), dilated vessels (11/22) and variably refractile stroma (19/22). In the slice imaging mode the following characteristics were found: grey/dark oval structures (18/22), peripheral rimming (13/22), destruction of layering (22/22), dilated vessels (7/22) and peritumoural bright stroma (11/22). In the en-face mode the lobulated structure of the BCC was more distinct than in the slice mode compared to histology.

Conclusion  HD-OCT with a horizontal and vertical imaging mode offers additional information in the diagnosis of BCC compared to conventional OCT imaging and enhances the feasibility of non-invasive diagnostics of BCC.