In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, iThera Medical’s MSOT Acuity Echo system provided real-time three-dimensional (3D) imaging of lymphatic vessels. This is the first study to use MSOT with a handheld probe to assess lymphedema in patients. In this paper, Guido Giacalone and their team compared Indocyanine Green (ICG) lymphography, the traditional method for identification of lymphatic vessels, to MSOT 3D imaging.

Lymphedema is the long-term swelling of tissue, that normally affects the arms or legs and their extremities. It is a chronic condition that results from impaired lymph nodes – typically as a result of cancer treatment – and results in a build-up of lymph fluid in the fatty tissues.

The study involved 11 patients with primary and secondary lymphedema. In eight patients, they could not only identify lymphatics and veins but also visualize their position and contractility. MSOT was superior in several ways because it:

  • differentiates between distinct types of vessels including lymphatics,
  • detects lymphatic vessels in areas of dermal backflow, and
  • provides images in real-time with high spatiotemporal resolution.


(a) Bedside Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography (MSOT) examination. (b) In the injected limb both lymphatics (green) and blood vessels (red) were detected while in the non-injected limb, only blood vessels (red) could be detected.


The paper, titled ‘Bedside 3D Visualization of Lymphatic Vessels with a Handheld Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography Device’ is open access and can be found online here.