Real-Time Visualization of Tissue Surface Biochemical Features Derived from Fluorescence Lifetime Measurements

Dimitris Gorpas, Dinglong Ma, Julien Bec, Diego R. Yankelevich, Laura Marcu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Fiber based fluorescence lifetime imaging has shown great potential for intraoperative diagnosis and guidance of surgical procedures. Here we describe a novel method addressing a significant challenge for the practical implementation of this technique, i.e., the real-time display of the quantified biochemical or functional tissue properties superimposed on the interrogated area. Specifically, an aiming beam (450 nm) generated by a continuous-wave laser beam was merged with the pulsed fluorescence excitation light in a single delivery/collection fiber and then imaged and segmented using a color-based algorithm. We demonstrate that this approach enables continuous delineation of the interrogated location and dynamic augmentation of the acquired frames with the corresponding fluorescence decay parameters. The method was evaluated on a fluorescence phantom and fresh tissue samples. Current results demonstrate that 34 frames per second can be achieved for augmenting videos of 640 × 512 pixels resolution. Also we show that the spatial resolution of the fluorescence lifetime map depends on the tissue optical properties, the scanning speed, and the frame rate. The dice similarity coefficient between the fluorescence phantom and the reconstructed maps was estimated to be as high as 93%. The reported method could become a valuable tool for augmenting the surgeon's field of view with diagnostic information derived from the analysis of fluorescence lifetime data in real-time using handheld, automated, or endoscopic scanning systems. Current method provides also a means for maintaining the tissue light exposure within safety limits. This study provides a framework for using an aiming beam with other point spectroscopy applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7407375
Pages (from-to)1802-1811
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Aiming beam
  • augmented reality
  • color segmentation
  • fluorescence lifetime imaging
  • image overlay
  • real-time imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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