In vivo and ex vivo microscopy moving toward the integration of optical imaging technologies into pathology practice

Wendy A. Wells, Michael Thrall, Anastasia Sorokina, Jeffrey Fine, Savitri Krishnamurthy, Attiya Haroon, Babar Rao, Maria M. Shevchuk, Herbert C. Wolfsen, Guillermo J. Tearney, Lida P. Hariri

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The traditional surgical pathology assessment requires tissue to be removed from the patient, then processed, sectioned, stained, and interpreted by a pathologist using a light microscope. Today, an array of alternate optical imaging technologies allow tissue to be viewed at high resolution, in real time, without the need for processing, fixation, freezing, or staining. Optical imaging can be done in living patients without tissue removal, termed in vivo microscopy, or also in freshly excised tissue, termed ex vivo microscopy. Both in vivo and ex vivo microscopy have tremendous potential for clinical impact in a wide variety of applications. However, in order for these technologies to enter mainstream clinical care, an expert will be required to assess and interpret the imaging data. The optical images generated from these imaging techniques are often similar to the light microscopic images that pathologists already have expertise in interpreting. Other clinical specialists do not have this same expertise in microscopy, therefore, pathologists are a logical choice to step into the developing role of microscopic imaging expert. Here, we review the emerging technologies of in vivo and ex vivo microscopy in terms of the technical aspects and potential clinical applications. We also discuss why pathologists are essential to the successful clinical adoption of such technologies and the educational resources available to help them step into this emerging role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-298
Number of pages11
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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