The generic term ‘medical photography’; can be taken to reference any data represented by a visual arrangement of pixels, whether originating from a smart phone, video camera, 3D scanner or dedicated medical imaging device. Below Illingworth introduces some of the key capture options when considering the usage of photography within a clinical trial.
Photomicrography - Uses a microscope to record detail at greater than life size. From desktop microscopes, with all the illuminant variables available to electron microscopes with extreme magnifications, the resultant image is still an arrangement of pixel values for interpretation.
Schlieren photography - records changes in the refractive index of a transparent medium; practical applications include recording the flow of gases or liquids as they mix or move around objects.
Dedicated imaging systems - Employing specific capture methods and filtration of the visual spectrum enables the competent medical photographer to construct a tailored imaging system. The construction process takes into account the practical variables and limitations, before being validated for each client’s specific needs. On occasion, there will already be an off-the-shelf imaging system which meets the client’s requirements. Such systems should always be validated in respect to their intended use, as they often have a rigid area of application. Dedicated imaging systems are under constant development and innovation; those areas most commonly used by medical photographers are:
Retinal imaging techniques - Uses dedicated imaging devices to record retinal or choroidal detail. These techniques include sodium fluorescein angiography, indocyanine green angiography, red free photography, stereo photography and scanning laser ophthalmoscopy.
3D imaging - 3D systems vary in size and method of data acquisition from macro to full body; multiple images, projected patterns or laser scanners reconstruct the original. Devices range from high-street compact cameras such as the Fujifilm Finepix 3D, to dedicated ulcer measurement devices such as the AranzMedical Silhouette and 360° full body imaging systems such as that from 3dMD.