Lasers have been used in combination with applied cooling methods to preserve superficial skin layers (100’s µm’s) during cosmetic surgery. Preservation of a thicker tissue surface layer (millimeters) may also allow development of other noninvasive laser procedures. We are exploring noninvasive therapeutic laser applications in urology (e.g. laser vasectomy and laser treatment of female stress urinary incontinence), which require surface tissue preservation on the millimeter scale. In this preliminary study, four lasers were compared for noninvasive creation of deep subsurface thermal lesions. Laser energy from three diode lasers (650, 808, and 980 nm) and a Ytterbium fiber laser (1075 nm) was delivered through a custom built, side-firing, laser probe with integrated cooling. An alcohol-based solution at −5 °C was circulated through a flow cell, cooling a sapphire window, which in turn cooled the tissue surface. The probe was placed in contact with porcine liver tissue, ex vivo, kept hydrated in saline and maintained at ~ 35 °C. Incident laser power was 4.2 W, spot diameter was 5.3 mm, and treatment time was 60 s. The optimal laser wavelength tested for creation of deep subsurface thermal lesions during contact cooling of tissues was 1075 nm, which preserved a surface layer of ~ 2 mm. The Ytterbium fiber laser provides a compact, low maintenance, and high power alternative laser source to the Neodymium:YAG laser for noninvasive thermal therapy.

© 2015 SPIE

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