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J Biomed Opt. 2004 Nov-Dec;9(6):1137-42.

Bulk optical properties and tissue components in the female breast from multiwavelength time-resolved optical mammography.

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INFM, Dipartimento di Fisica and IFN-CNR, Politecnico di Milano, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, I-20133, Milan, Italy.


We present the results of a clinical study about optical properties and bulk composition of the female breast. The clinical study involved more than 150 subjects that underwent optical mammography. A multiwavelength time-resolved mammograph designed to collect time-resolved transmittance images of the breast at different wavelengths in the range 637 to 980 nm is used to this purpose. From the absorption spectrum of the breast, the concentrations of the main tissue constituents, i.e., oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin, lipid, and water, are obtained for a subset of 113 breasts. The lipid content of breast is estimated for the first time on such a large number of subjects. The total hemoglobin concentration, blood oxygen saturation, lipid, and water content of breast is correlated to demographic information collected during the trial. As expected, breast optical properties and components undergo huge variations among different subjects. Different constituents, however, show interesting correlation with clinical parameters such as age, breast size, body mass index, and mammographic parenchymal pattern. These results suggest that optical measurements on breasts can be exploited to obtain relevant information on breast tissue composition.

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