Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a rapid non-invasive imaging technique that has shown high sensitivity for intra-operative surgical margin assessment in human breast cancer clinical trials. This promising technology has not been evaluated in veterinary medicine. The objective of this study was to correlate normal and abnormal histological features with OCT images for surgical margins from excised canine soft tissue sarcoma (STS) and to establish image evaluation criteria for identifying positive surgical margins. Fourteen client-owned dogs underwent surgical resection of a STS and OCT imaging of 2 to 4 areas of interest on the resected specimen were performed. Following imaging these areas were marked with surgical ink and trimmed for histopathology evaluation. Results showed that different tissue types had distinct characteristic appearances on OCT imaging. Adipose tissue exhibited a relatively low scattering and a honey-comb texture pattern. Skeletal muscle and sarcoma tissue were both dense and highly scattering. While sarcoma tissue was highly scattering, it did not have organized recognizable structure in contrast to muscle which showed clear fibre alignment patterns. In this investigation, we showed different tissue types had different and characteristic scattering and image texture appearances on OCT, which closely correlate with low-power histology images. Given the differentiation between tissue types the results support that OCT could be used to identify positive surgical margins immediately following resection of STS. Further research is needed to assess the diagnostic accuracy of this method for surgical margin assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-88
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary and comparative oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • dogs
  • margins of excision
  • surgical oncology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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