Clinical application of multiphoton tomography in combination with confocal laser scanning microscopy for in vivo evaluation of skin diseases


Martin Johannes Koehler, MD, Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Jena, Erfurter Str. 35, 07743 Jena, Germany, Tel.: +49-3641-937836, Fax: +49-3641-937343, e-mail:


Abstract:  Multiphoton tomography (MPT) is an in vivo imaging technique with very high spatial resolution and efforts are made to combine MPT with other non-invasive imaging methods. The goals of the present study were the description of the features of different dermatological entities as seen in MPT and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) comparison of these two novel techniques and the ‘classical’ diagnostic measures visual inspection, dermoscopy and histology with respect to the strengths and weaknesses of the different methods and the potential benefit from their combined implementation. After study approval by the local Ethics Committee, 47 patients (31 male, 16 female, age range: 24–88 years) were recruited from the Department of Dermatology of the University Hospital Jena. In this work, we present an illustrative selection of eleven cases from a clinical study combining in vivo MPT with in vivo CLSM. The patients presented with a broad range of dermatological disorders including seborrheic keratoses, angioma, actinic keratoses, melanocytic nevi, malignant melanoma, psoriasis, pemphigus vulgaris and scarring. Both methods, CLSM and MPT, were found to be suitable for in vivo imaging of superficial skin layers and may therefore be useful in dermatological practice for the diagnosis of skin diseases. However, both methods differ in their technical and physical principles. Thus, despite of many similarities concerning the morphological presentation of cells and tissues, important differences are recognized. Synergies of the combination of CLSM and MPT may be obtained by combined implementation in order to benefit from the fast overview given by CLSM and the detailed imaging of skin structures by MPT.