Cervical collagen imaging for determining preterm labor risks using a colposcope with full Mueller matrix capability

Susan Stoff, Joseph Chue-Sang, Nola A. Holness, Amir Gandjbakhche, Viktor Chernomordik, Jessica Ramella-Roman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


Preterm birth is a worldwide health issue, as the number one cause of infant mortality and neurological disorders. Although affecting nearly 10% of all births, an accurate, reliable diagnostic method for preterm birth has, yet, to be developed. The primary constituent of the cervix, collagen, provides the structural support and mechanical strength to maintain cervical closure, through specific organization, during fetal gestation. As pregnancy progresses, the disorganization of the cervical collagen occurs to allow eventual cervical pliability so the baby can be birthed through the cervical opening. This disorganization of collagen affects the mechanical properties of the cervix and, if the changes occur prematurely, may be a significant factor leading to preterm birth. The organization of collagen can be analyzed through the use of Mueller Matrix Polarimetric imaging of the characteristic birefringence of collagen. In this research, we have built a full Mueller Matrix Polarimetry attachment to a standard colposcope to enable imaging of human cervixes during standard prenatal exams at various stages of fetal gestation. Analysis of the polarimetric images provides information of quantity and organization of cervical collagen at specific gestational stages of pregnancy. This quantitative information may provide an indication of risk of preterm birth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics XII
ISBN (Electronic)9781628419245
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics XII - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Feb 13 2016Feb 14 2016


OtherPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics XII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • Collagen Disorganization
  • Colposcope
  • Mueller Matrix
  • Polarization
  • Preterm Birth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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