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An optical coherence tomography (OCT)-based air jet indentation system for measuring the mechanical properties of soft tissues.

  • Author(s): Huang, Yan-Ping
  • Zheng, Yong-Ping
  • Wang, Shu-Zhe
  • Chen, Zhong-Ping
  • Huang, Qing-Hua
  • He, Yong-Hong
  • et al.
Abstract

A novel noncontact indentation system with the combination of an air jet and optical coherence tomography (OCT) was presented in this paper for the quantitative measurement of the mechanical properties of soft tissues. The key idea of this method is to use a pressure-controlled air jet as an indenter to compress the soft tissue in a noncontact way and utilize the OCT signals to extract the deformation induced. This indentation system provides measurement and mapping of tissue elasticity for small specimens with high scanning speed. Experiments were performed on 27 silicone tissue-mimicking phantoms with different Young's moduli, which were also measured by uniaxial compression tests. The regression coefficient of the indentation force to the indentation depth (N mm(-1)) was used as an indicator of the stiffness of tissue under air jet indentation. Results showed that the stiffness coefficients measured by the current system correlated well with the corresponding Young's moduli obtained by conventional mechanical testing (r = 0.89, p < 0.001). Preliminary in vivo tests also showed that the change of soft tissue stiffness with and without the contraction of the underlying muscles in the hand could be differentiated by the current measurement. This system may have broad applications in tissue assessment and characterization where alterations of mechanical properties are involved, in particular with the potential of noncontact micro-indentation for tissues.

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