In this research, we have used an algorithm to extract four different optical parameters, including the scattering coefficient (μs ), effective anisotropy factor (goff ), birefringence coefficient (Δn), and fast-axis angle (β) from polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT) images. The proposed method was evaluated from a set of phantoms and it yielded valid results. We demonstrate that the optical characteristic of normal and different kinds of atherosclerotic lesions in human vessel can be quantitatively described. Whether change in these quantified optical properties could be used to discriminate between different types of human atherosclerotic plaques was examined.© (2008) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.