In vivo polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography of human burn scars: Birefringence quantification and correspondence with histologically determined collagen density

Mariëlle E.H. Jaspers, Fabio Feroldi*, Marcel Vlig, Johannes F. De Boer, Paul P.M. Van Zuijlen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Obtaining adequate information on scar characteristics is important for monitoring their evolution and the effectiveness of clinical treatment. The aberrant type of collagen in scars may give rise to specific birefringent properties, which can be determined using polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT). The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate a method to quantify the birefringence of the scanned volume and correlate it with the collagen density as measured from histological slides. Five human burn scars were measured in vivo using a handheld probe and custom-made PS-OCT system. The local retardation caused by the tissue birefringence was extracted using the Jones formalism. To compare the samples, histograms of birefringence values of each volume were produced. After imaging, punch biopsies were harvested from the scar area of interest and sent in for histological evaluation using Herovici polychrome staining. Two-dimensional en face maps showed higher birefringence in scars compared to healthy skin. The Pearson's correlation coefficient for the collagen density as measured by histology versus the measured birefringence was calculated at r = 0.80 (p = 0.105). In conclusion, the custom-made PS-OCT system was capable of in vivo imaging and quantifying the birefringence of human burn scars, and a nonsignificant correlation between PS-OCT birefringence and histological collagen density was found.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121712
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

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