A Proposal to Perform High Contrast Imaging of Human Palatine Tonsil with Cross Polarized Optical Coherence Tomography
The palatine tonsils provide the first line of immune defense against foreign pathogens inhaled or ingested. However, a disruption in the epithelial layer within the tonsil crypts can lead to recurrent acute tonsillitis (RAT). Current imaging techniques suffer from poor resolution and contrast and do not allow a classification of the severity of RAT. We have developed a cross-polarized optical coherence tomography system. The system can detect a change in the polarization of the light after the light-tissue interaction. We demonstrate improved resolution and contrast in tonsil imaging with the developed method. Intensity, as well as retardance images of the excised tonsil tissue, were acquired. Features such as crypt epithelium, lymphoid follicles, and dense connective tissue were observed with improved contrast. Cross polarized optical coherence tomography can be a valuable tool in the clinic to evaluate palatine tonsils as it would allow visualizing common tonsil features without the need for any external contrast agent.