Modulated and continuous-wave operations of low-power thulium (Tm:YAP) laser in tissue welding

Temel Bilici, Haşim Ozgür Tabakoğlu, Nermin Topaloğlu, Hamit Kalaycioğlu, Adnan Kurt, Alphan Sennaroglu, Murat Gülsoy
Journal of Biomedical Optics 2010, 15 (3): 038001
Our aim is to explore the welding capabilities of a thulium (Tm:YAP) laser in modulated and continuous-wave (CW) modes of operation. The Tm:YAP laser system developed for this study includes a Tm:YAP laser resonator, diode laser driver, water chiller, modulation controller unit, and acquisition/control software. Full-thickness incisions on Wistar rat skin were welded by the Tm:YAP laser system at 100 mW and 5 s in both modulated and CW modes of operation (34.66 Wcm(2)). The skin samples were examined during a 21-day healing period by histology and tensile tests. The results were compared with the samples closed by conventional suture technique. For the laser groups, immediate closure at the surface layers of the incisions was observed. Full closures were observed for both modulated and CW modes of operation at day 4. The tensile forces for both modulated and CW modes of operation were found to be significantly higher than the values found by conventional suture technique. The 1980-nm Tm:YAP laser system operating in both modulated and CW modes maximizes the therapeutic effect while minimizing undesired side effects of laser tissue welding. Hence, it is a potentially important alternative tool to the conventional suturing technique.

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