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Proceedings Paper

Effect of pulsed infrared lasers on neural conduction and axoplasmic transport in sensory nerves
Author(s): Ursula Wesselmann; William Zev Rymer; Shien-Fong Lin
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Paper Abstract

Over the past ten years there has been an increasing interest in the use of lasers for neurosurgical and neurological procedures. Novel recent applications range from neurosurgical procedures such as dorsal root entry zone lesions made with argon and carbon dioxide microsurgical lasers to pain relief by low power laser irradiation of the appropriate painful nerve or affected region1 '2 However, despite the widespread clinical applications of laser light, very little is known about the photobiological interactions between laser light and nervous tissue. The present studies were designed to evaluate the effects of pulsed Nd:YAG laser light on neural impulse conduction and axoplasmic transport in sensory nerves in rats and cats. Our data indicate that Q-switched Nd:YAG laser irradiation can induce a preferential impairment of (1) the synaptic effects of small afferent fibers on dorsal horn cells in the spinal cord and of (2) small slow conducting sensory nerve fibers in dorsal roots and peripheral nerves. These results imply that laser light might have selective effects on impulse conduction in slow conducting sensory nerve fibers. In agreement with our elecirophysiological observations recent histological data from our laboratory show, that axonal transport of the enzyme horseradish peroxidase is selectively impaired in small sensory nerve fibers. In summary these data indicate, that Q-switched Nd:YAG laser irradiation can selectively impair neural conduction and axoplasmic transport in small sensory nerve fibers as compared to fast conducting fibers. A selective influence of laser irradiation on slow conducting fibers could have important clinical applications, especially for the treatment of chronic pain.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 June 1990
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 1200, Laser Surgery: Advanced Characterization, Therapeutics, and Systems II, (1 June 1990); doi: 10.1117/12.17474
Show Author Affiliations
Ursula Wesselmann, Northwestern Univ. Medical School and Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery (United States)
William Zev Rymer, Northwestern Univ. Medical School and Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery (United States)
Shien-Fong Lin, Northwestern Univ. Medical School and Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1200:
Laser Surgery: Advanced Characterization, Therapeutics, and Systems II
Stephen N. Joffe; Kazuhiko Atsumi, Editor(s)

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