Analysis of strain estimation methods in phase-sensitive compression optical coherence elastography

Jiayue Li, Ewelina Pijewska, Qi Fang, Maciej Szkulmowski, Brendan F. Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


In compression optical coherence elastography (OCE), deformation is quantified as the local strain at each pixel in the OCT field-of-view. A range of strain estimation methods have been demonstrated, yet it is unclear which method provides the best performance. Here, we analyze the two most prevalent strain estimation methods used in phase-sensitive compression OCE, i.e., weighted least squares (WLS) and the vector method. We introduce a framework to compare strain imaging metrics, incorporating strain sensitivity, strain signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), strain resolution, and strain accuracy. In addition, we propose a new phase unwrapping algorithm in OCE, fast phase unwrapping (FPU), and combine it with WLS, termed WLSFPU. Using the framework, we compare this new strain estimation method with both a current implementation of WLS that incorporates weighted phase unwrapping (WPU), termed WLSWPU, and the vector method. Our analysis reveals that the three methods provide similar strain sensitivity, strain SNR, and strain resolution, but that WLSFPU extends the dynamic range of accurate, measurable local strain, e.g., measuring a strain of 2.5 mϵ with ∼4% error, that is ×11 and ×15 smaller than the error measured using WLSWPU and the vector method, respectively. We also demonstrate, for the first time, the capability to detect sub-resolution contrast in compression OCE, i.e., changes in strain occurring within the strain axial resolution, and how this contrast varies between the different strain estimation methods. Lastly, we compare the performance of the three strain estimation methods on mouse skeletal muscle and human breast tissue and demonstrate that WLSFPU avoids strain imaging artifacts resulting from phase unwrapping errors in WLSWPU and provides improved contrast over the other two methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2224-2246
Number of pages23
JournalBiomedical Optics Express
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


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