In diffuse optical tomography (DOT), a typical perturbation approach requires two sets of measurements obtained at the lesion breast (lesion or target site) and a contra-lateral location of the normal breast (reference site) for image reconstruction. For patients who have a small amount of breast tissue, the chest-wall underneath the breast tissue at both sites affects the imaging results. In this group of patients, the perturbation, which is the difference between measurements obtained at the lesion and reference sites, may include the information of background mismatch which can generate artifacts or affect the reconstructed quantitative absorption coefficient of the lesion. Also, for patients who have a single breast due to prior surgery, the contra-lateral reference is not available. To improve the DOT performance or overcome its limitation, we introduced a new method based on an exogenous contrast agent and demonstrate its performance using animal models. Co-registered ultrasound was used to guide the lesion localization. The results have shown that artifacts caused by background mismatch can be reduced significantly by using this new method.