The aim of this study was to explore whether rotational three-dimensional (3D) visualization of optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) volume data may yield valuable information regarding diabetic retinal microaneurysm (MA) characteristics. In this retrospective, observational study, we collected data from 20 patients (20 eyes) with diabetic retinopathy. Subjects were imaged with the SS-OCTA system (PLEX Elite 9000, Carl Zeiss Meditec Inc., Dublin, CA, USA). The OCTA volume data were processed with a volume projection removal algorithm and then exported to imageJ in order to obtain a 3D visualization of the analyzed MAs. The rotational three-dimensional OCTA images were qualitatively and quantitatively investigated. A total of 52 MAs were included in the analysis. On rotational 3D OCTA images, the number of vessels associated with each MA varied between 1 and 4, and most MAs (59.6%) were associated with 2 vessels. Moreover, in 20 MAs (38.4%) these vessels seem to originate from the SCP, while 26 MAs (50.0%) had associated vessels originating from the DVC, and 6 MAs had associated vessels arising from both the SCP and DVC (11.6%). Most MAs (31/52) had a ‘saccular’ shape. The number of retinal layers occupied by each MA ranged between 1 and 3 and the inner nuclear layer was the retinal layer most frequently occupied by MAs. In conclusion, this study used an algorithm to obtain rotational three-dimensional visualization of retinal MAs. The MAs’ architecture is complex and 3D visualization may clarify the true vascular origin of these lesions, which is often mistaken using en face OCTA images.
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