OCT imaging through miniature needle probes has extended the range of OCT and enabled structural imaging deep inside breast tissue, with the potential to assist in the intraoperative assessment of tumor margins. However, in many situations, scattering contrast alone is insufficient to clearly identify and delineate malignant areas. Here, we present a portable, depth-encoded polarization-sensitive OCT system, connected to a miniature needle probe. From the measured polarization states we constructed the tissue Mueller matrix at each sample location and improved the accuracy of the measured polarization states through incoherent averaging before retrieving the depth-resolved tissue birefringence. With the Mueller matrix at hand, additional polarization properties such as depolarization are readily available. We then imaged freshly excised breast tissue from a patient undergoing lumpectomy. The reconstructed local retardation highlighted regions of connective tissue, which exhibited birefringence due to the abundance of collagen fibers, and offered excellent contrast to areas of malignant tissue, which exhibited less birefringence due to their different tissue composition. Results were validated against co-located histology sections. The combination of needle-based imaging with the complementary contrast provided by polarization-sensitive analysis offers a powerful instrument for advanced tissue imaging and has potential to aid in the assessment of tumor margins during the resection of breast cancer.
Martin Villiger, Dirk Lorenser, Robert A. McLaughlin, Bryden C. Quirk, Rodney W. Kirk, Brett E. Bouma, and David D. Sampson, "Needle-based polarization-sensitive OCT of breast tumor
(Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9697, Optical Coherence Tomography and Coherence Domain Optical Methods in Biomedicine XX, 96971E (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 17, 2016; Published: 26 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2214773.4848635701001.
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