Optical Imaging technologies offer large possibilities to improve diagnosis, treatment and disease prevention both, at the bedside, or in the operating room. Advantages over radiological imaging techniques cover from the use of non-ionizing radiation, to the ability to differentiate among soft tissues thanks to specific tissue contrast based on different photon absorption and/or scattering spectrum profiles. These interaction mechanisms allow to study functional and molecular markers intended to discriminate healthy and diseased tissue. On the other hand, optical imaging technologies become easily combinable favouring a multimodal approach that enhances tissue diagnosis based on the fusion of different optical properties.
The talk will revise the experiences at the University of Cantabria on intraoperative margin tumour delineation based on spectroscopic analysis and the application of optical coherence tomography to define tissue biomarkers for the cardiovascular surgery. However, the advance on the potential of optical imaging technologies, and how these techniques can be translated into clinical tools, still rely on the effective collaboration between biologists, clinicians, engineers, mathematicians and basic scientists.