Measuring Collagen Fiber Orientation: A Two-Dimensional Quantitative Macroscopic Technique

[+] Author and Article Information
J. P. Dickey, G. A. Dumas

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, K7L 3N6

B. R. Hewlett

Department of Anatomical Pathology, McMaster University Medical Centre, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8N 3Z5

D. A. Bednar

Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Surgery, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, LBS 4K1

J Biomech Eng 120(4), 537-540 (Aug 01, 1998) (4 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2798026 History: Received November 14, 1996; Revised February 03, 1998; Online October 30, 2007


This paper describes the design, evaluation, and application of a new system for quantifying two-dimensional collagen fiber orientation in soft tissue. Series of transmitted polarized light images were collected using a custom-designed macroscope. Combined analysis of pixel brightness, and hue from images collected with a compensator plate, permitted the assignment of each pixel into the appropriate orientation band. Experiments were performed to quantify the linearity and noise of the system. Validation was performed on a specimen composed of strain-birefringent plastic strips at various orientations. Preliminary collagen fiber orientation data is presented from a tendon specimen. This study demonstrates the utility of this approach for studying collagen fiber orientation across large areas.

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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