Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a new imaging technology, which is analogous to ultrasound but uses light instead of sound. OCT is based on interferometry of light, and in that way allows to view up to 3 mm inside the tissue. With OCT real-time, high resolution (<50µm) cross sections of the tissue are provided. OCT is often described as an optical biopsy technology, which means that it provides instant information about tissue structures behind the surface, without actually taking an invasive biopsy.
Optical coherence tomography is not a new technology. In 1991 the first paper was published in which OCT was used to visualize the eye of a rabbit. In 10 years’ time OCT became the standard of care in ophthalmology. Since 1991 OCT has become faster and more powerful, which means that it has become more and more interesting for endoscopic applications. In vivo clinical research with OCT has been performed in the bladder, and in other organs. The clinical research in vivo in the bladder shows that OCT significantly improves bladder cancer diagnostics compared to white light cystoscopy.