A mobile-phone based high-resolution microendoscope to image cervical precancer

Benjamin D. Grant, Timothy Quang, Júlio César Possati-Resende, Cristovam Scapulatempo-Neto, Graziela de Macedo Matsushita, Edmundo Carvalho Mauad, Mark H. Stoler, Philip E. Castle, José Humberto Tavares Guerreiro Fregnani, Kathleen M. Schmeler, Rebecca Richards-Kortum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Nearly 90% of cervical cancer cases and deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries that lack comprehensive national HPV immunization and cervical cancer screening programs. In these settings, it is difficult to implement screening programs due to a lack of infrastructure and shortage of trained personnel. Screening programs based on visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) have been successfully implemented in some low-resource settings. However, VIA has poor specificity and up to 90% of patients receiving treatment based on a positive VIA exam are over-treated. A number of studies have suggested that high-resolution cervical imaging to visualize nuclear morphology in vivo can improve specificity by better distinguishing precancerous and benign lesions. To enable high-resolution imaging in low-resource settings, we developed a portable, low-cost, high-resolution microendoscope that uses a mobile phone to detect and display images of cervical epithelium in vivo with subcellular resolution. The device was fabricated for less than $2,000 using commercially available optical components including filters, an LED and triplet lenses assembled in a 3D-printed opto-mechanical mount. We show that the mobile high-resolution microendoscope achieves similar resolution and signal-to-background ratio as previously reported high-resolution microendoscope systems using traditional cameras and computers to detect and display images. Finally, we demonstrate the ability of the mobile high-resolution microendoscope to image normal and precancerous squamous epithelium of the cervix in vivo in a gynecological referral clinic in Barretos, Brazil.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0211045
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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