Determining elastic properties of skin by measuring surface waves from an impulse mechanical stimulus using phase-sensitive optical coherence tomography

Chunhui Li, Guangying Guan, Roberto Reif, Zhihong Huang (Lead / Corresponding author), Ruikang K. Wang (Lead / Corresponding author)

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    The mechanical properties of skin are important tissue parameters that are useful for understanding skin patho-physiology, which can aid disease diagnosis and treatment. This paper presents an innovative method that employs phase-sensitive spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (PhS-OCT) to characterize the biomechanical properties of skin by measuring surface waves induced by short impulses from a home-made shaker. Experiments are carried out on single and double-layer agar-agar phantoms, of different concentrations and thickness, and on in vivo human skin, at the forearm and the palm. For each experiment, the surface wave phase-velocity dispersion curves were calculated, from which the elasticity of each layer of the sample was determined. It is demonstrated that the experimental results agree well with previous work. This study provides a novel combination of PhS-OCT technology with a simple and an inexpensive mechanical impulse surface wave stimulation that can be used to non-invasively evaluate the mechanical properties of skin in vivo, and may offer potential use in clinical situations. © 2011 The Royal Society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)831-841
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
    Issue number70
    Early online date2 Nov 2011
    Publication statusPublished - May 2012


    • phase-sensitive optical coherence tomography PhS-OCT
    • phase-sensitive measurement
    • Surface waves
    • phase-velocity dispersion
    • skin mechanical properties

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