The ability to phenotype wounds for the purposes of assessing severity, healing potential and treatment is an important function of evidence-based medicine. A variety of optical technologies are currently in development for noninvasive wound assessment. To varying extents, these optical technologies have the potential to supplement traditional clinical wound evaluation and research, by providing detailed information regarding skin components imperceptible to visual inspection. These assessments are achieved through quantitative optical analysis of tissue characteristics including blood flow, collagen remodeling, hemoglobin content, inflammation, temperature, vascular structure, and water content. Technologies that have, to this date, been applied to wound assessment include: near infrared imaging, thermal imaging, optical coherence tomography, orthogonal polarization spectral imaging, fluorescence imaging, laser Doppler imaging, microscopy, spatial frequency domain imaging, photoacoustic detection, and spectral/hyperspectral imaging. We present a review of the technologies in use or development for these purposes with three aims: (1) providing basic explanations of imaging technology concepts, (2) reviewing the wound imaging literature, and (3) providing insight into areas for further application and exploration. Noninvasive imaging is a promising advancement in wound assessment and all technologies require further validation.
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