At some point in the future, Brillouin microscopy — which creates images by measuring viscoelasticity — may be able to be used in lieu of surgery to diagnose certain vocal trauma in professional singers and speakers.

Michael Johns, MD, founder of USC Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery’s voice center and his longtime colleague, Brian Applegate, PhD, hypothesized that Brillouin microscopy could not only make diagnoses for different forms of vocal damage in a less invasive manner, but could also be employed to take images beneath the surface of the vocal cords. They put their theories to the test using porcine vocal folds.

The were published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics.

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