In vivo burn scar assessment with speckle decorrelation and joint spectral and time domain optical coherence tomography

Qiang Wang, Peijun Gong, Hadi Afsharan, Chulmin Joo, Natalie Morellini, Mark Fear, Fiona Wood, Hao Ho, Dilusha Silva, Barry Cense

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


SIGNIFICANCE: Post-burn scars and scar contractures present significant challenges in burn injury management, necessitating accurate evaluation of the wound healing process to prevent or minimize complications. Non-invasive and accurate assessment of burn scar vascularity can offer valuable insights for evaluations of wound healing. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) and OCT angiography (OCTA) are promising imaging techniques that may enhance patient-centered care and satisfaction by providing detailed analyses of the healing process.

AIM: Our study investigates the capabilities of OCT and OCTA for acquiring information on blood vessels in burn scars and evaluates the feasibility of utilizing this information to assess burn scars.

APPROACH: Healthy skin and neighboring scar data from nine burn patients were obtained using OCT and processed with speckle decorrelation, Doppler OCT, and an enhanced technique based on joint spectral and time domain OCT. These methods facilitated the assessment of vascular structure and blood flow velocity in both healthy skin and scar tissues. Analyzing these parameters allowed for objective comparisons between normal skin and burn scars.

RESULTS: Our study found that blood vessel distribution in burn scars significantly differs from that in healthy skin. Burn scars exhibit increased vascularization, featuring less uniformity and lacking the intricate branching network found in healthy tissue. Specifically, the density of the vessels in burn scars is 67% higher than in healthy tissue, while axial flow velocity in burn scar vessels is 25% faster than in healthy tissue.

CONCLUSIONS: Our research demonstrates the feasibility of OCT and OCTA as burn scar assessment tools. By implementing these technologies, we can distinguish between scar and healthy tissue based on its vascular structure, providing evidence of their practicality in evaluating burn scar severity and progression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126001
Pages (from-to)126001
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2023


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