Technique called photoacoustic tomography reveals blood vessels and their problems without the need for invasion or labelling
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.
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.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.