Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 7th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Heat Wave

Technique called photoacoustic tomography reveals blood vessels and their problems without the need for invasion or labelling

27 October 2018

Heat Wave

Although we can see some of the blood vessels under our skin, many are buried deep. Here a technique called photoacoustic tomography reveals the hidden network of arteries and veins in an adult’s palm. Harmless laser pulses turn into tiny puffs of heat after hitting chemicals in the blood –helping to produce these maps of circulation. On the right, artificial colours pick out deeper vessels in red and yellow. These are mostly arteries, with veins lying nearer the surface of the skin in blue and green. After testing on healthy subjects, the technique may be applied to investigate conditions like varicose veins – looking for changes in the bends and twists of vessels – or to spot angiogenesis, the formation of new vessels common in breast cancer; guiding diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

Written by John Ankers

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.