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Journal of Biomedical Optics

Comparative study of cryogen spray cooling with R-134a and R-404a: implications for laser treatment of dark human skin
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Paper Abstract

Cutaneous laser treatment in dark skin patients is challenging due to significant light absorption by the melanin at the basal layer of epidermis, which can result in irreversible nonspecific thermal injury to the epidermis. Cryogen spray cooling (CSC) with R-134a (boiling point ≈ –26.2°C at 1 atm), which is currently used during cutaneous laser treatment, has shown poor efficacy in protecting dark human skin. We investigated the potential of CSC with R-404a (boiling point ≈ –46.5°C at 1 atm), which has a lower boiling point than R-134a, for improved therapeutic outcome in dark human skin at three levels: in vitro (epoxy resin skin phantom), ex vivo (normal dark human skin sample), and in vivo (skin of the rabbit external ear). The skin phantom was used to acquire the surface and internal temperature profiles in response to CSC with R-134a or R-404a at various spurt durations, based upon which CSC-induced heat removal from the skin phantom was estimated using an algorithm that solved a one-dimensional inverse heat conduction problem. CSC with R-404a increased the temperature reductions within the phantom and subsequently the amount of heat removal from the phantom in comparison to that with R-134a. Normal ex vivo Fitzpatrick types V-VI human skin samples were used to investigate the thermal response of dark human skin epidermis to CSC (R-134a or R-404a) at various spurt durations in conjunction with 595-nm pulsed dye laser irradiation at various radiant exposures. Cryogen R-404a increased the threshold radiant exposures for irreversible thermal injury to the epidermis in dark pigmentation skin. No obvious CSC-induced morphological changes to human skin was observed when sprayed with R404-a spurts using durations up to 300 ms. In vivo rabbit ear vasculature was used as a model of cutaneous anomalies to assess the influences of CSC (with R-134a or R-404a) on the photothermolysis of dermal blood vessels. CSC (R-134a or R-404a) with the spurt durations of 100 to 300 ms increased the most superficial depth of thermally damaged dermal blood vessel compared with the sites without CSC, implying possible nonspecific cooling of superficial dermal blood vessels by the cryogen spurts with the settings applied.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 July 2006
PDF: 11 pages
J. Biomed. Opt. 11(4) 041116 doi: 10.1117/1.2338001
Published in: Journal of Biomedical Optics Volume 11, Issue 4
Show Author Affiliations
Tianhong Dai, Rice Univ. (United States)
Mohammad Abbas Yaseen, Rice Univ. (United States)
Parmeswaran Diagaradjane, Rice Univ. (United States)
David W. Chang, The Univ. of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Ctr. (United States)
Bahman Anvari, Rice Univ. (United States)

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