Theranostics 2019; 9(6):1550-1571. doi:10.7150/thno.32362 This issue


Strategies for Image-Guided Therapy, Surgery, and Drug Delivery Using Photoacoustic Imaging

Colman Moore1, Jesse V. Jokerst1,2,3✉

1. Department of NanoEngineering
2. Materials Science and Engineering Program
3. Department of Radiology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093. United States.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.
Moore C, Jokerst JV. Strategies for Image-Guided Therapy, Surgery, and Drug Delivery Using Photoacoustic Imaging. Theranostics 2019; 9(6):1550-1571. doi:10.7150/thno.32362. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Photoacoustic imaging is a rapidly maturing imaging modality in biological research and medicine. This modality uses the photoacoustic effect (“light in, sound out”) to combine the contrast and specificity of optical imaging with the high temporal resolution of ultrasound. The primary goal of image-guided therapy, and theranostics in general, is to transition from conventional medicine to precision strategies that combine diagnosis with therapy. Photoacoustic imaging is well-suited for noninvasive guidance of many therapies and applications currently being pursued in three broad areas. These include the image-guided resection of diseased tissue, monitoring of disease states, and drug delivery. In this review, we examine the progress and strategies for development of photoacoustics in these three key areas with an emphasis on the value photoacoustics has for image-guided therapy.

Keywords: photoacoustic imaging, ultrasound, image-guided, therapy, surgery, drug delivery