Attention all the connoisseurs of Copenhagen, Skoal, Beaver Chew and other snuff stuff! The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, part of the National Institutes of Health, is reporting that a novel device “allows dentists to visualize in a completely new way whether a patient might have a developing oral cancer.”
Moreover, the device seems to be pretty accurate, according to the NIH:
Testing the device in 44 people, the results of which are published online in the Journal of Biomedical Optics, the scientists found they could distinguish correctly in all but one instance between normal and abnormal tissue. Their diagnoses were confirmed to be correct by biopsy and standard pathology.
Medgadget.com, being on the side of chewing peasants and closeted snuff-using intellectuals, has obtained pictures of the Visually Enhanced Lesion Scope (VELScope) and the following description of the device from LED Dental Inc., a manufacturer out of Vancouver, O’Canada:
LED Dental Inc. developed the VELscope in cooperation with the British Columbia Cancer Agency and its affiliated US partners The VELscope is a portable device comprised of a light source, light guide, and a viewing hand-piece. The system includes a disposable protective end cap for use with each patient examination and a tissue retractor with measurement guide as needed. The VELscope was designed for optimal flexibility and placement within the operatory.
Fluorescence technology can enhance oral mucosal screening.
The VELscope technology platform is based on the visualization of tissue fluorescence and the changes that occur when abnormal cells are present. The VELscope hand-piece emits a safe blue light into the oral cavity, which excites the cells beneath the surface tissue and causes them to fluoresce. By utilizing special optical filters in the hand-piece the dentist/hygienist is able to immediately view the different fluorescence signatures in the oral tissue to help differentiate between normal and abnormal cellular activity. The healthy tissue shows up as a green glow and the suspicious region is identified by a loss of fluorescence, which appears dark.
We look forward with eager anticipation to bringing VELscope into the market place. However, we are not presently accepting orders for the device. The retail price for the VELscope will be $4995 USD.