Background and Objectives: There remains a need to objectively monitor burn wound healing within a clinical setting, and optical coherence tomography (OCT) is proving itself one of the ideal modalities for just such a use. The aim of this study is to utilize the noninvasive and multipurpose capabilities of OCT, along with its cellular-level resolution, to demonstrate the application of optical attenuation coefficient (OAC), as derived from OCT data, to facilitate the automatic digital segmentation of the epidermis from scan images and to work as an objective indicator for burn wound healing assessment. Study Design/Materials and Methods: A simple, yet efficient, method was used to estimate OAC from OCT images taken over multiple time points following acute burn injury. This method enhanced dermal–epidermal junction (DEJ) contrast, which facilitated the automatic segmentation of the epidermis for subsequent thickness measurements. In addition, we also measured and compared the average OAC of the dermis within said burns for correlative purposes. Results: Compared with unaltered OCT maps, enhanced DEJ contrast was shown in OAC maps, both from single A-lines and completed B-frames. En face epidermal thickness and dermal OAC maps both demonstrated significant changes between imaging sessions following burn injury, such as a loss of epidermal texture and decreased OAC. Quantitative analysis also showed that OAC of acute burned skin decreased below that of healthy skin following injury. Conclusions: Our study has demonstrated that the OAC estimated from OCT data can be used to enhance imaging contrast to facilitate the automatic segmentation of the epidermal layer, as well as help elucidate our understanding of the pathological changes that occur in human skin when exposed to acute burn injury, which could serve as an objective indicator of skin injury and healing.
- acute burn-damaged skin
- automatic segmentation
- dermal–epidermal junction (DEJ)
- optical attenuation coefficient (OAC)
- optical coherence tomography (OCT)
ASJC Scopus subject areas