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Enhanced laser surface ablation with an integrated photoacoustic imaging and high intensity focused ultrasound system

David Hazlewood, Xinmai Yang
Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 2019 March 12

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Combined laser and ultrasound treatments have been found to have synergistic effects, which may be of particular note in dermatology. We aim to investigate the potential of this technology for dermatology through in vitro and ex vivo experiments.

METHODS: In vitro tissue phantoms made of agar and tattoo ink and tattooed ex vivo chicken breast tissue were used. An integrated photoacoustic imaging and high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) system, using a 5-ns tunable OPO laser system and a 5 MHz HIFU transducer, was used to perform photoacoustic analysis to identify the optical contrast, and perform combined laser and ultrasound ablation. On the tissue phantoms, lines of ablation were created under various operating conditions. The samples were then quantified to determine the level of ablation. Same procedures were performed on the tattooed chicken breast tissue and the tattoo was removed by using combined laser and ultrasound.

RESULTS: Ablation in the in vitro tissue phantoms was observed with properly synchronized laser and ultrasound while no ablation was found with either laser or ultrasound alone. Increases to the intensity or pulse duration of ultrasound caused an increase in ablation to the samples. The tattoo was removed from the ex vivo chicken breast using combined laser and ultrasound with a radiant exposure of 1.2 J/cm2 while laser and ultrasound alone were unable to remove the tattoo.

CONCLUSIONS: We determined that by supplementing nanosecond laser pulses with ultrasound, ablation, and tattoo removal can be achieved at laser radiant exposures levels would otherwise be ineffective. The area of ablation can be adjusted through changes in the intensity and duration of the ultrasound burst with a constant laser intensity. Additionally, the system can be used to perform photoacoustic analysis of the tissue to estimate the relative optical absorbance at various available wavelengths, allowing for pretreatment analysis. Lasers Surg. Med. 9999:1-9, 2019. © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


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