Collagen provides skin structure integrity and its concentration is related to the severity of scars. The objective of this study is to develop a hand-held and relatively inexpensive system to detect changes of the dermal collagen concentration in vivo. Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy and two-layer diffusion model have often been used to quantify the collagen concentration and other optical properties of the skin. However, the influences of fat and muscle, which are just below the dermis, have not been thoroughly investigated. We applied Monte Carlo simulations to find source-detector separations most sensitive to changes in collagen absorption and identify four wavelengths between 650 nm and 1000 nm suitable for separating influences of other chromophores including melanin, oxyhemoglobin and deoxyhemoglobin. Our tissue model consisted of at least three layers including the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous fat with an optional forth layer representing the muscle. Results showed that the reflectance of the three-layered tissue model differed significantly from that of the two-layered tissue model, and the additional muscle layer might also influence the reflectance depending on the thickness of the fat layer. In addition, whether scattering coefficients of the epidermis and dermis were the same significantly affected the reflectance. Differences in reflectance due to changes in the collagen concentration were distinct from those due to changes in scattering coefficients and other chromophores. Further in-vivo experiments are ongoing to to validate the proposed approach.
Estimating optical properties of tissues is a crucial step to model photon migration in tissue, facilitate the design of the probe geometry, better interpret data measured from tissue and predict photon energy distributions in tissue for various diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) using visible and near-infrared light is a well-known method for estimating optical properties of tissues. For estimating optical properties of muscles, most existing researches have used integrating spheres for ex-vivo measurements. However, due to inter-subject variability and sitespecific conditions, an in-vivo approach can provide more accurate estimations of muscle absorption and scattering coefficients, which is important for the tomographic reconstruction of changes in the absorption or fluorescence in tissue. In this study, we used DRS with wavelengths between 600 nm and 800 nm and a fiber bundle with source-to-detector separations in the range of 0.18-0.35 cm to quantify wavelength-dependent scattering and absorption coefficients of human muscles in vivo with an inverse Monte Carlo model. Reflectance spectra were measured on the neck and the upper arm of one volunteer. After calibrating spectra with tissue phantoms made of Intralipid and India ink, we estimated scattering and absorption coefficients of muscles. The results are compared to those measured ex vivo in the literature.