Fiber-optic Raman spectroscopy of joint tissues

Analyst. 2011 Apr 21;136(8):1675-85. doi: 10.1039/c0an00824a. Epub 2011 Feb 28.


In this study, we report adaptation of Raman spectroscopy for arthroscopy of joint tissues using a custom-built fiber-optic probe. Differentiation of healthy and damaged tissue or examination of subsurface tissue, such as subchondral bone, is a challenge in arthroscopy because visual inspection may not provide sufficient contrast. Discrimination of healthy versus damaged tissue may be improved by incorporating point spectroscopy or hyperspectral imaging into arthroscopy where the contrast is based on the molecular structure or chemical composition. Articular joint surfaces of knee cadaveric human tissue and tissue phantoms were examined using a custom-designed Raman fiber-optic probe. Fiber-optic Raman spectra were compared against reference spectra of cartilage, subchondral bone and cancellous bone collected using Raman microspectroscopy. In fiber-optic Raman spectra of the articular surface, there was an effect of cartilage thickness on recovery of signal from subchondral bone. At sites with intact cartilage, the bone mineralization ratio decreased but there was a minimal effect in the bone mineral chemistry ratios. Tissue phantoms were prepared as experimental models of the osteochondral interface. Raman spectra of tissue phantoms suggested that optical scattering of cartilage has a large effect on the relative cartilage and bone signal. Finite element analysis modeling of light fluence in the osteochondral interface confirmed experimental findings in human cadaveric tissue and tissue phantoms. These first studies demonstrate the proof of principle for Raman arthroscopic measurement of joint tissues and provide a basis for future clinical or animal model studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cadaver
  • Cartilage, Articular / anatomy & histology
  • Fiber Optic Technology
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / anatomy & histology*
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman / methods*