Here we present a new methodology that investigates the intrinsic structural and hemodynamic characteristics of in vivo brain tissue, in a non-contact fashion, and can be easily incorporated in an intra-operative environment. Within this methodology, relative total diffuse reflectance spectra (RTD(λ)) were acquired from targets using a hybrid spectroscopy imaging system. A spectral interpretation algorithm was subsequently applied to RTD(λ) to retrieve optical properties related to the compositional and structural characteristics of each target. Estimation errors of the proposed methodology were computationally evaluated using a Monte Carlo simulation model for photon migration under various conditions. It was discovered that this new methodology could handle moderate noise and achieve very high accuracy, but only if the refractive index of the target is known. The accuracy of the technique was also validated using a series of tissue phantom studies, and consistent and accurate estimates of μs'(λ)/μa(λ) were obtained from all the phantoms tested. Finally, a small-scale animal study was conducted to demonstrate the clinical utility of the reported method, wherein a forepaw stimulation model was utilized to induce transient hemodynamic responses in somatosensory cortices. With this approach, significant stimulation-related changes (p < 0.001) in cortical hemodynamic and structural characteristics were successfully measured.
Keywords: (120.4640) Optical instruments; (170.3890) Medical optics instrumentation.