Evaluation of osteoarthritis progression using polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography

Nader A. Nassif, Mark C. Pierce, B. Hyle Park, Barry Cense, Johannes F. De Boer

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

5 Scopus citations


Osteoarthritis is a prevalent medical condition that presents a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge to physicians today because of the inability to assess the integrity of the articular cartilage early in the disease. Polarization sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT) is a high resolution, non-contact imaging modality that provides cross-sectional images with additional information regarding the integrity of the collagen matrix. Using PS-OCT to image provides information regarding thickness of the articular cartilage and gives an index of biochemical changes based on alterations in optical properties (i.e. birefringence) of the tissue. We demonstrate initial experiments performed on specimens collected following total knee replacement surgery. Articular cartilage was imaged using a 1310 nm PS-OCT system where both intensity and phase images were acquired. PS-OCT images were compared with histology, and the changes in tissue optical properties were characterized. Analysis of the intensity images demonstrates differences between healthy and diseased cartilage surface and thickness. Phase maps of the tissue demonstrated distinct differences between healthy and diseased tissue. PS-OCT was able to image a gradual loss of birefringence as the tissue became more diseased. In this way, determining the rate of change of the phase provides a quantitative measure of pathology. Thus, imaging and evaluation of osteoarthritis using PS-OCT can be a useful means of quantitative assessment of the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-175
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Oct 27 2004
Externally publishedYes
EventProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Adavnced Biomedical and Clinical Diagnostic Systems II - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 25 2004Jan 26 2004


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Osteoarthritis
  • Polarization sensitive Optical Coherence Tomography

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