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Journal of Biomedical Optics

Efficacy and predictability of soft tissue ablation using a prototype Raman-shifted alexandrite laser
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Paper Abstract

Previous research showed that mid-infrared free-electron lasers could reproducibly ablate soft tissue with little collateral damage. The potential for surgical applications motivated searches for alternative tabletop lasers providing thermally confined pulses in the 6- to-7-μm wavelength range with sufficient pulse energy, stability, and reliability. Here, we evaluate a prototype Raman-shifted alexandrite laser. We measure ablation thresholds, etch rates, and collateral damage in gelatin and cornea as a function of laser wavelength (6.09, 6.27, or 6.43  μm), pulse energy (up to 3  mJ/pulse), and spot diameter (100 to 600  μm). We find modest wavelength dependence for ablation thresholds and collateral damage, with the lowest thresholds and least damage for 6.09  μm. We find a strong spot-size dependence for all metrics. When the beam is tightly focused (∼100-μm diameter), ablation requires more energy, is highly variable and less efficient, and can yield large zones of mechanical damage (for pulse energies >1  mJ). When the beam is softly focused (∼300-μm diameter), ablation proceeded at surgically relevant etch rates, with reasonable reproducibility (5% to 12% within a single sample), and little collateral damage. With improvements in pulse-energy stability, this prototype laser may have significant potential for soft-tissue surgical applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 October 2015
PDF: 10 pages
J. Biomed. Opt. 20(10) 105004 doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.20.10.105004
Published in: Journal of Biomedical Optics Volume 20, Issue 10
Show Author Affiliations
John A. Kozub, Vanderbilt Univ. (United States)
Jin-H. Shen, Vanderbilt Univ. (United States)
Karen M. Joos, Vanderbilt Univ. (United States)
Ratna Prasad, Vanderbilt Univ. (United States)
M. Shane Hutson, Vanderbilt Univ. (United States)

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