Purpose of review
This article reviews literature on the use of optical coherence tomography (OCT) in otology and provides the reader with a timely update on its current clinical and research applications. The discussion focuses on the principles of OCT, the use of the technology for the diagnosis of middle ear disease and for the delineation of in-vivo cochlear microarchitecture and function.
Recent advances in OCT include the measurement of structural and vibratory properties of the tympanic membrane, ossicles and inner ear in healthy and diseased states. Accurate, noninvasive diagnosis of middle ear disease, such as otosclerosis and acute otitis media using OCT, has been validated in clinical studies, whereas inner ear OCT imaging remains at the preclinical stage. The development of recent microscopic, otoscopic and endoscopic systems to address clinical and research problems is reviewed.
OCT is a real-time, noninvasive, nonionizing, point-of-care imaging modality capable of imaging ear structures in vivo. Although current clinical systems are mainly focused on middle ear imaging, OCT has also been shown to have the ability to identify inner ear disease, an exciting possibility that will become increasingly relevant with the advent of targeted inner ear therapies.