Journal of Biomedical OpticsAveraged subtracted polarization imaging for endoscopic diagnostics of surface microstructures on translucent mucosae
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An endoscopic image processing technique for enhancing the appearance of microstructures on translucent mucosae is described. This technique employs two pairs of co- and cross-polarization images under two different linearly polarized lights, from which the averaged subtracted polarization image (AVSPI) is calculated. Experiments were then conducted using an acrylic phantom and excised porcine stomach tissue using a manual experimental setup with ring-type lighting, two rotating polarizers, and a color camera; better results were achieved with the proposed method than with conventional color intensity image processing. An objective evaluation method that uses texture analysis was developed and used to evaluate the enhanced microstructure images. This paper introduces two types of online, rigid-type, polarimetric endoscopic implementations using a polarized ring-shaped LED and a polarimetric camera. The first type uses a beam-splitter-type color polarimetric camera, and the second uses a single-chip monochrome polarimetric camera. Microstructures on the mucosa surface were enhanced robustly with these online endoscopes regardless of the difference in the extinction ratio of each device. These results show that polarimetric endoscopy using AVSPI is both effective and practical for hardware implementation.