Accurate measurement of total attenuation coefficient of thin tissue with optical coherence tomography

Alexander I. Kholodnykh, Irina Y. Petrova, Massoud Motamedi, Rinat O. Esenaliev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Noninvasive accurate measurements of tissue optical properties are needed for many diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) recently proposed for high-resolution imaging in tissue can potentially be applied for accurate, noninvasive, and high-resolution measurement of tissue total attenuation coefficient. However, confocal function (dependence of OCT sensitivity on the distance of probed site from the focal plane of the objective lens) and multiple scattering substantially limit the accuracy of the measurement with the OCT technique. We studied the influence of the confocal function and multiple scattering on the accuracy of the measurement and proposed methods that provide measurement of the total attenuation coefficient with a significantly reduced systematic error. Experiments were performed in tissue phantoms and porcine and human skin in vitro and in vivo. Our data indicate that the tissue total attenuation coefficient can noninvasively be measured in vivo with the accuracy of 5%-10% in the range from 0.5 to 17 mm-1 and about 20% in the range up to 40 mm-1. These results suggest that the proper correction of the OCT-based measurement for the confocal function and multiple scattering provides absolute values of tissue total attenuation coefficient with high accuracy and resolution that may not be achievable by other optical techniques in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-221
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2003


  • Medical diagnostics
  • Noninvasive monitoring
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
  • Tissue optical properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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