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J Biomed Opt. 2001 Oct;6(4):474-9.

In vivo burn depth determination by high-speed fiber-based polarization sensitive optical coherence tomography.

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  • 1Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic, University of California, 1002 Health Sciences Road East, Irvine, CA 92612, USA.


We report the first application of high-speed fiber-based polarization sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT) to image burned tissue in vivo. Thermal injury denatures collagen in skin and PS-OCT can measure the reduction in collagen birefringence using depth resolved changes in the polarization state of light propagated in, and reflected from, the tissue. Stokes vectors were calculated for each point in a scan and birefringence relative to incident polarization determined using four incident polarization states. Using a high-speed fiber-based PS-OCT system on rat skin burned for varying periods of time, a correlation between birefringence and actual burn depth determined by histological analysis was established. In conclusion, PS-OCT has potential use for noninvasive assessment of burn depth.

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