Cutting and skin-ablative properties of pulsed mid-infrared laser surgery

R Kaufmann, A Hartmann, R Hibst
Journal of Dermatologic Surgery and Oncology 1994, 20 (2): 112-8

BACKGROUND: Pulsed mid-infrared lasers allow a precise removal of soft tissues with only minimal thermal damage.

OBJECTIVE: To study the potential dermatosurgical usefulness of currently available systems at different wavelengths (2010-nm Thulium:YAG laser, 2100-nm Holmium:YAG laser, 2790-nm Erbium:YSGG laser, and 2940-nm Erbium:YAG laser) in vivo on pig skin.

METHODS: Immediate effects and wound healing of superficial laser-abrasions and incisions were compared with those of identical control lesions produced by dermabrasion, scalpel incisions, or laser surgery performed by a 1060-nm Nd:YAG and a 1060-nm CO2 laser (continuous and superpulsed mode).

RESULTS: Best efficiency and least thermal injury was found for the pulsed Erbium:YAG laser, leading to ablative and incisional lesions comparable to those obtained by dermabrasion or superficial scalpel incisions, respectively.

CONCLUSION: In contrast to other mid-infrared lasers tested, the 2940-nm Erbium:YAG laser thus provides a potential instrument for future applications in skin surgery, especially when aiming at a careful ablative removal of delicate superficial lesions with maximum sparing of adjacent tissue structures. However, in the purely incisional application mode pulsed mid-infrared lasers, though of potential usefulness in microsurgical indications (eg, surgery of the cornea), do not offer a suggestive alternative to simple scalpel surgery of the skin.

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