Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is FDA-approved for the treatment of Parkinson's disease and essential tremor. Currently, placement of DBS leads is guided through a combination of anatomical targeting and intraoperative microelectrode recordings. The physiological mapping process requires several hours, and each pass of the microelectrode into the brain increases the risk of hemorrhage. Optical Coherence Domain Reflectometry (OCDR) in combination with current methodologies could reduce surgical time and increase accuracy and safety by providing data on structures some distance ahead of the probe.
For this preliminary study, we scanned a rat brain in vitro using polarization-insensitive Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT). For accurate measurement of intensity and attenuation, polarization effects arising from tissue birefringence are removed by polarization diversity detection. A fresh rat brain was sectioned along the coronal plane and immersed in a 5 mm cuvette with saline solution.
OCT images from a 1294 nm light source showed depth profiles up to 2 mm. Light intensity and attenuation rate distinguished various tissue structures such as hippocampus, cortex, external capsule, internal capsule, and optic tract. Attenuation coefficient is determined by linear fitting of the single scattering regime in averaged A-scans where Beer’s law is applicable. Histology showed very good correlation with OCT images. From the preliminary study using OCT, we conclude that OCDR is a promising approach for guiding DBS probe placement.