The mechanical properties of blood vessel walls are important determinants of physiology and pathology of the cardiovascular system. Acoustic imaging (B mode) is routinely used in a clinical setting to determine blood flow and wall distensibility. In this study scanning acoustic microscopy in vitro is used to determine spatially resolved tissue elastic properties. Broadband excitation of 30 MHz has been applied through scanning acoustic microscopy (SAM) for topographical imaging of swine thoracic aorta in reflection mode. Three differently treated tissue samples were investigated with SAM: a) treated with elastase to remove elastin, b) autoclaving for 5 hours to remove collagen and c) fresh controlled untreated sample as control. Experimental investigations are conducted for studying the contribution of individual protein components (elastin and collagen) to the material characteristics of the aortic wall. Conventional tensile testing has been conducted on the tissue samples to study the mechanical behavior. The mechanical properties measured by SAM and tensile testing show qualitative agreement.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.