Abstract

We report an innovative technique for the visualization of cells through an overlying scattering medium by combining femtosecond laser bone ablation and two-photon excitation fluorescence (TPEF) microscopy. We demonstrate the technique by imaging hair cells in an intact mouse cochlea ex vivo. Intracochlear imaging is important for the assessment of hearing disorders. However, the small size of the cochlea and its encasement in the densest bone in the body present challenging obstacles, preventing the visualization of the intracochlear microanatomy using standard clinical imaging modalities. The controlled laser ablation reduces the optical scattering of the cochlear bone while the TPEF allows visualization of individual cells behind the bone. We implemented optical coherence tomography (OCT) simultaneously with the laser ablation to enhance the precision of the ablation and prevent inadvertent damage to the cells behind the bone. (C) 2019 Optical Society of America under the terms of the OSA Open Access Publishing Agreement

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