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Proceedings Paper

Histological distinction of mechanical and thermal defects produced by nanosecond laser pulses in striated muscle at 1064 nm
Author(s): Thomas Gratzl; Gottfried Dohr; Heinz Schmidt-Kloiber; Erich Reichel
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Paper Abstract

For the therapeutic application of laser light it is necessary to minimize defects in the non-irradiated tissue. These defects depend on the primary mechanism of interaction which is determined by the duration of laser action. In the case of continuous wave laserlight a tissue layer surrounding the irradiated volume is thermally affected. On using laser pulsed with a certain energy this layer becomes smaller with decreasing pulse duration. With the pulses of a Q-switched laser tissue cutting will be obtained by the laser-induced breakdown (LIB). Thereby shockwaves are emitted which stress the tissue mechanically. Even in this case thermal lesions can be found. To be able to distinguish between thermal and mechanical effects by histological examination, experiments were performed with ns- and microsecond(s) -laserpulses under the same conditions. A Nd:YAG-laser at 1064 nm was used either Q-switched (pulse duration: 8 ns) or flashlamp-pulsed (100 microsecond(s) ) with a pulse repetition rate of 10 Hz. The beam was focused through air below the tissue surface (focal length in air: 80 mm). The beam geometry in the focal region was identical for both cases. The position of the focal plane relative to the surface was exactly controlled, as it influences extension and kind of the defect. To produce evaluable defects in the microsecond(s) experiments 200 laserpulses with an energy of 340 mJ per pulse had to be applied. The unfixed striated muscle samples of Sprague Dawley rats were immediately dissected prior to laser exposure. For the microsecond(s) experiments the defect region could be divided into 4 zones surrounding a crater, which was found at a focal plane position 2 mm below the surface. Zone 1 shows vacuoles and intensive staining. In zone 2 the myofibrils were displaced and torn apart. Zone 3 represents a sharply bordered intensively stained region. In zone 4 muscle cells are contracted. The zones are all of thermal origin, which could be derived from experiments, wherein an electrically heated wire was fixed inside the samples. In the ns experiments in general larger craters were found. Even a single laser pulse already produces a crater which did not happen in the microsecond(s) experiments. After the application of 5 to 10 pulses only some vacuoles could be found outside the crater. Increasing the number of pulse to 200 the picture is similar to that produced with microsecond(s) pulses. These results show that a few ns pulses suffice to form a crater. Additional ns-pulses lead to heat accumulation and produce thermal lesions like those of the microsecond(s) case and mechanical changes produced by shockwaves may be concealed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 June 1991
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 1427, Laser-Tissue Interaction II, (1 June 1991); doi: 10.1117/12.44089
Show Author Affiliations
Thomas Gratzl, Karl-Franzens-Univ. Graz (Austria)
Gottfried Dohr, Karl-Franzens-Univ. Graz (Austria)
Heinz Schmidt-Kloiber, Karl-Franzens-Univ. Graz (Austria)
Erich Reichel, Karl-Franzens-Univ. Graz (Austria)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1427:
Laser-Tissue Interaction II
Steven L. Jacques, Editor(s)

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