Neurosurgery 87:11–24, 2020
The evolution of neurosurgery has been, and continues to be, closely associated with innovations in technology.
Modern neurosurgery is wed to imaging technology and the future promises even more dependence on anatomic and, perhaps more importantly, functional imaging.
The photoacoustic phenomenon was described nearly 140 yr ago; however, biomedical applications for this technology have only recently received significant attention.
Light-based photoacoustic and microwave-based thermoacoustic technologies represent novel biomedical imaging modalities with broad application potential within and beyond neurosurgery. These technologies offer excellent imaging resolution while generally considered safer,more portable, versatile, and convenient than current imaging technologies. In this review,we summarize the current state of knowledge regarding photoacoustic and thermoacoustic imaging and their potential impact on the field of neurosurgery.