Oral Cancer Screenings with VELscope

In our last post, we discussed the severity of oral cancer . Fortunately, our office now offers the VELscope, an FDA-approved hand-held device to help clinicians detect cancer and pre-cancer that may not be noticed by the naked eye. Here we will answer questions you may have about this state-of-the-art device.

How does the VELscope work?

The VELscope works by emitting a blue light into the oral cavity, meant to excite the surface tissues through to the basement membrane, where premalignant changes usually start, and into the cells beneath. These areas, in turn, emit their own light, in shades of green, yellow and red. Using the VELscope, your dental professional can immediately contrast the different fluorescent responses to determine any abnormal tissue.

What is tissue fluorescence?

It is a visual phenomenon that occurs when light absorbed by human tissue creates an excitation in molecules, re-emitting the light at a different wavelength.

Is the VELscope diagnostic?

Similar to other visualization technologies, it is not a stand-alone diagnostic test. When used in conjunction with traditional oral cancer detection examinations, it provides visual information that cannot be acquired any other way.

How long does the exam take?

Without rinses, dyes or any other form of discomfort, it will take your dental health professional less than three minutes to perform the VELscope examination.

Is it safe?

The VELscope technology is completely safe. It is only a blue light, generated by light emitting diodes, being shone into the oral cavity.

Can the VELscope generate falsely positive results for oral cancer?

False positives can only occur when a diagnostic test mistakenly signals the presence of a disease. Since the VELscope is NOT a diagnostic test, it cannot generate falsely positive results. It is a complementary visualization tool that helps dental professionals discover a wide range of unhealthy tissue, including cancerous and pre-cancerous lesions.

If you are interested in a VELscope examination, contact either our Lakeview (773-935-3600) or South Loop (312-922-1898) office for more information.

Courtesy of VELscope


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