Posted in | News | Imaging | Medical Optics

Wide Field Depolarization Imaging is a Promising Tool for Cervix Tissue Analysis

A research study published in Scientific Reports proposes the examination of cervix microstructure via polarized light based on a wide-field depolarization imaging method. Using wide-field depolarization imaging, a nonsurgical approach for rapidly analyzing cervical tissue in vivo, experts could better identify preterm delivery by keeping tabs on the continuous growth of the pregnancy.

Study: Depolarization imaging for fast and non-invasive monitoring of cervical microstructure remodeling in vivo during pregnancy. Image Credit: Orawan Pattarawimonchai/

The cervix plays a critical role in conception, childbirth, and delivery. As the uterus undergoes microstructural remodeling in preparation for birth, a pregnant woman’s cervix changes substantially in terms of mechanical characteristics. This process can be accelerated by external factors, leading to prematurity. This is the leading cause of infant mortality worldwide owing to the inadequacy of current diagnostic procedures.

As the pregnancy progresses, a significant shift occurs in the cervix's polarimetric capabilities. Pregnancy age has a significant linear connection with an integration of various depolarization characteristics due to a reduction in collagen thickness and a rise in cervical connective tissue permeability.

The Threat of Preterm Birth (TPB)

Premature birth is the leading cause of perinatal death globally. Prematurity occurs when a woman gives birth before 37 weeks of amenorrhea. In France and Europe, the prematurity rate is estimated at 6%, while in the United States, the rate is twice as high. 

A tocolytic medication is given to women with the threat of preterm birth to reduce contractions and prevent preterm labor. In current medical practice, determining the severity of the threat of preterm birth to predict preterm delivery is challenging.

Limitations of Current TPB diagnosis Techniques

Transvaginal ultrasonography is the preferred method for measuring cervical length. Transvaginal ultrasonography can be augmented by biomarkers detection. Premature birth is more likely in women with amenorrhea for less than 37 weeks and a cervical length of less than 20 mm. However, there is no clear guideline for a threshold of cervical length that would consistently indicate preterm because of the difficulty of associating measured length with time to birth.

Premature delivery occurs in less than 50% of the women diagnosed with the threat of preterm birth, depending on the pregnancy age at the time of their initial admission. Many women are hospitalized unnecessarily which is expensive and may cause complications. Premature birth rates can be reduced, adverse occurrences can be avoided, and novel treatments can be developed if a better approach to diagnosing prematurity can be devised.

Role of Cervix in Maintenance of Pregnancy and Childbirth

The cervix plays a key role in the maintenance of childbirth and pregnancy. The mechanical capabilities of the cervix substantially alter as gestation continues. This process proceeds slowly up to roughly 37 weeks of amenorrhea in a full-term pregnancy, leading to progressive weakening of the cervix without any noticeable change in its anatomy. 

After 37 weeks of amenorrhea, the cervix starts to contract and expand in preparation for labor and delivery which occur at around 41 weeks of amenorrhea.

The change in mechanical characteristics of the cervix during pregnancy is related to the cervix microstructure remodeling. This process predominantly affects the soft tissue or stroma, resulting in more than 95% of the cervix’s size.  

Characterizing cervix microstructure remodeling throughout full-term gestation is critical for understanding how this process occurs in high-risk pregnancies.

Investigation of Cervix Microstructure Remodeling

This cervix microstructure remodeling process can be investigated using X-ray diffraction, second harmonic generation (SHG) microscopy, and optical coherence tomography (OCT). 

X-rays can harm both mother and child. High magnetic fields have uncertain impacts on pregnancy. OCT and SHG microscopy can examine cervical tissues with high resolution but with less depth of measurement. Scanning broad regions render these approaches difficult and inappropriate for in vivo application.

A safe, novel technology is required to swiftly examine a pregnant woman's cervix in vivo and provide insights on cervix microstructure remodeling.

Rehbinder et al. reported the feasibility analysis of depolarization imaging for determining cervix microstructural remodeling during pregnancy. The researchers examined full-term pregnant women of varying gestational ages to discover the essential polarimetric parameters for monitoring pregnancy progress.

Wide-field depolarization imaging can characterize scattering or anisotropic surfaces that give specific polarimetric signals. This approach has shown potential for biological diagnostics. Depolarization imaging explores optically complicated biological tissues, where scattering and anisotropy effects coexist. Depolarization imaging emits photons to detect microstructural changes in diseased tissues and can be used to examine the collagen-rich cervix's microstructure remodeling.

Potential of Depolarization Imaging for Cervix Microstructure Remodeling

Rehbinder et al. with his team employed wide-field depolarization imaging to characterize the cervical tissue polarimetrically during pregnancy. The results showed that depolarization imaging is a viable technique for studying cervical microstructure during pregnancy. 

Pregnant women of various gestational ages were examined using a Mueller polarimeter attached to a normal colposcope. It was discovered that the total depolarization, calculated from the Mueller matrix measured by symmetric decomposition, was the best indicator of cervical microstructure remodeling during pregnancy.

Many depolarization characteristics, especially those seen in the red and near-infrared regions of the visible spectrum, can be used to characterize microstructural changes in the cervix throughout pregnancy.

A more accurate preterm diagnosis could be obtained by identifying irregularities in the development of cervical depolarization characteristics throughout a full-term pregnancy.


Rehbinder, J., Vizet, J., Park, J., Ossikovski, R., Vanel, J.-C., Nazac, A., & Pierangelo, A. (2022). Depolarization imaging for fast and non-invasive monitoring of cervical microstructure remodeling in vivo during pregnancy. Scientific Reports, 12(1), 12321.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

Usman Ahmed

Written by

Usman Ahmed

Usman holds a master's degree in Material Science and Engineering from Xian Jiaotong University, China. He worked on various research projects involving Aerospace Materials, Nanocomposite coatings, Solar Cells, and Nano-technology during his studies. He has been working as a freelance Material Engineering consultant since graduating. He has also published high-quality research papers in international journals with a high impact factor. He enjoys reading books, watching movies, and playing football in his spare time.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Ahmed, Usman. (2022, July 21). Wide Field Depolarization Imaging is a Promising Tool for Cervix Tissue Analysis. AZoOptics. Retrieved on June 21, 2024 from

  • MLA

    Ahmed, Usman. "Wide Field Depolarization Imaging is a Promising Tool for Cervix Tissue Analysis". AZoOptics. 21 June 2024. <>.

  • Chicago

    Ahmed, Usman. "Wide Field Depolarization Imaging is a Promising Tool for Cervix Tissue Analysis". AZoOptics. (accessed June 21, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Ahmed, Usman. 2022. Wide Field Depolarization Imaging is a Promising Tool for Cervix Tissue Analysis. AZoOptics, viewed 21 June 2024,

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this news story?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.