Investigating the ablation efficiency of a 1940-nm thulium fibre laser for intraoral surgery

M Guney, B Tunc, M Gulsoy
International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 2014, 43 (8): 1015-21
The use of a laser in surgical procedures involving the soft tissues is advantageous due to its sterile and hemostatic nature. Several different lasers are in use for intraoral soft tissue surgery; however, small, efficient, and fibre-coupled lasers are favoured due to the tightly confined nature of the intraoral environment. This study proposes the use of a 1940-nm thulium fibre laser (Tm:fibre laser) for intraoral soft tissue procedures. Its thermal effects when used to make incisions were investigated. This laser was chosen due to its output wavelength, which is absorbed well by water in biological tissues. Lamb tongues were used in the experiments. The laser was coupled to a 600-μm silica fibre and incisions were made in contact mode with a continuous wave. The extent of ablation and coagulation produced were measured at three different speeds, powers, and numbers of passes. The thermal effects of laser power, movement speed, and number of passes on incision depth and ablation efficiency were determined. The Tm:fibre laser is a promising tool for intraoral surgery, with excellent absorption by tissue, good coagulative qualities, and easy to manipulate fibre output. Its use as an incisional tool with very little to no carbonization is shown in this study.

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