In many clinical and research applications including cancer diagnosis, tumor response to therapy, reconstructive surgery, monitoring of transplanted tissues and organs, and quantitative evaluation of angiogenesis, sequential and quantitative assessment of microcirculation in tissue is required. In this paper we present an imaging technique capable of spatial and temporal measurements of blood perfusion through microcirculation. To demonstrate the developed imaging technique, studies were conducted using phantoms with modeled small blood vessels of various diameters positioned at different depths. A change in the magnitude of the photoacoustic signal was observed during vessel constriction and subsequent displacement of optically absorbing liquid present in the vessels. The results of the study suggest that photoacoustic, ultrasound and strain imaging could be used to sequentially monitor and qualitatively assess blood perfusion through microcirculation.© (2007) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.