Laryngeal imaging with polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography

James A. Burns, Ki Hean Kim, R. Rox Anderson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Objectives/Hypothesis: Optical coherence tomography (OCT), an imaging technology that provides crosssectional subsurface tissue structure images using backscattered light, is a promising noninvasive, imaging modality for in-vivo assessment of vocal fold layered microstructure. Polarization-sensitive OCT (PS-OCT) augments conventional OCT by detecting changes in the polarization state of reflected light. This study imaged various benign laryngeal pathologies in patients undergoing direct laryngoscopy under general anesthesia to determine whether PS-OCT would provide useful additional information about vocal fold microstructure and glottic surface pathology. Study Design: Prospective clinical trial. Methods: Eighteen patients who were undergoing microlaryngoscopy under general anesthesia for benign glottic disease were imaged bilaterally with OCT and PS-OCT (N=34 vocal folds). Intraoperative microphotography guided placement of the imaging probe. Normalappearing glottic tissue was also imaged if present. When clinically indicated, biopsy or complete removal of the lesion established histologic confirmation. Results: PS-OCT provided high quality, vertical, cross-sectional images up to 1.2mm deep that complemented microlaryngoscopy, and conventional OCT for vocal fold pathologies. Scar tissue was visualized by PS-OCT, characterized by a birefringence pattern more intense than that of normal glottic tissue. Conclusions: Combining PS-OCT with OCT during human vocal cord imaging provides useful information in characterizing vocal cord lesions, particularly scar tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics VII
StatePublished - 2011
EventPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics VII - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 22 2011Jan 24 2011

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics VII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • OCT
  • PS-OCT
  • glottis
  • larynx
  • optical coherence tomography
  • polarization sensitive optical coherence tomography
  • vocal fold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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