With significant advances in the management of gastrointestinal disease there has been a move from diagnosing advanced pathology, to detecting early lesions that are potentially amenable to curative endoscopic treatment. This has required an improvement in diagnostics, with a focus on identifying and characterising subtle mucosal changes. There is great interest in the use of optical technologies to predict histology and enable the formulation of a real-time in vivo diagnosis, a so-called ‘optical biopsy’. The aim of this review is to explore the evidence for the use of the current commercially available imaging techniques in the gastrointestinal tract.
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