We have been developing an automated method to image lymphatic vessels both ex vivo and in vivo with optical coherence tomography (OCT), using their optical transparency. Our method compensates for the OCT signal attenuation for each A-scan in combination with the correction of the confocal function and sensitivity fall-off, enabling reliable thresholding of lymphatic vessels from the OCT scans. Morphological image processing with a segment-joining algorithm is also incorporated into the method to mitigate partial-volume artifacts, which are particularly evident with small lymphatic vessels. Our method is demonstrated for two different clinical application goals: the monitoring of conjunctival lymphatics for surgical guidance and assessment of glaucoma treatment; and the longitudinal monitoring of human burn scars undergoing laser ablation treatment. We present examples of OCT lymphangiography ex vivo on porcine conjunctivas and in vivo on human burn scars, showing the visualization of the lymphatic vessel network and their longitudinal changes due to treatment.
Peijun Gong, Shaghayegh Es’haghian, Karol Karnowski, Suzanne Rea, Fiona M. Wood, Dao-Yi Yu, Robert A. McLaughlin, and David D. Sampson, "Ex vivo and in vivo label-free imaging of lymphatic vessels using OCT lymphangiography (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10053, Optical Coherence Tomography and Coherence Domain Optical Methods in Biomedicine XXI, 100531I (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 01, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2254935.5371723162001.
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