Background and Objective: Sarcomas are rare but highly aggressive tumors, and local recurrence after surgical excision can occur in up to 50% cases. Therefore, there is a strong clinical need for accurate tissue differentiation and margin assessment to reduce incomplete resection and local recurrence. The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of optical coherence tomography (OCT) and a novel image texture-based processing algorithm to differentiate sarcoma from muscle and adipose tissue. Study Design and Methods: In this study, tumor margin delineation in 19 feline and canine veterinary patients was achieved with intraoperative OCT to help validate tumor resection. While differentiation of lower-scattering adipose tissue from higher-scattering muscle and tumor tissue was relatively straightforward, it was more challenging to distinguish between dense highly scattering muscle and tumor tissue types based on scattering intensity and microstructural features alone. To improve tissue-type differentiation in a more objective and automated manner, three descriptive statistical metrics, namely the coefficient of variation (CV), standard deviation (STD), and Range, were implemented in a custom algorithm applied to the OCT images. Results: Over 22,800 OCT images were collected intraoperatively from over 38 sites on 19 ex vivo tissue specimens removed during sarcoma surgeries. Following the generation of an initial set of OCT images correlated with standard hematoxylin and eosin-stained histopathology, over 760 images were subsequently used for automated analysis. Using texture-based image processing metrics, OCT images of sarcoma, muscle, and adipose tissue were all found to be statistically different from one another (P ≤ 0.001). Conclusion: These results demonstrate the potential of using intraoperative OCT, along with an automated tissue differentiation algorithm, as a guidance tool for soft tissue sarcoma margin delineation in the operating room. Lasers Surg. Med. 49:240–248, 2017.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-248
Number of pages9
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • OCT
  • cancer
  • computer-aided detection
  • image processing
  • imaging
  • surgery
  • surgical margins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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