Tissue removal using electrocautery is standard practice in neurosurgery since tissue can be cut and cauterized simultaneously. Thermally mediated tissue ablation using lasers can potentially possess the same benefits but with increased precision. However, given the critical nature of the spine, brain, and nerves, the effects of direct photo-thermal interaction on neural tissue needs to be known, yielding not only high precision of tissue removal but also increased control of peripheral heat damage. The proposed use of lasers as a neurosurgical tool requires that a common ground is found between ablation rates and resulting peripheral heat damage.
Most surgical laser systems rely on the conversion of light energy into heat resulting in both desirable and undesirable thermal damage to the targeted tissue. Classifying the distribution of thermal energy in neural tissue, and thus characterizing the extent of undesirable thermal damage, can prove to be exceptionally challenging considering its highly inhomogenous composition when compared to other tissues such as muscle and bone. Here we present the characterization of neural tissue ablation rate and heat affected zone of a 1.94 micron thulium doped fiber laser for neural tissue ablation. In-Vivo ablation of porcine cerebral cortex is performed. Ablation volumes are studied in association with laser parameters. Histological samples are taken and examined to characterize the extent of peripheral heat damage.
Andrew J. Marques, Jamil Jivraj, Robnier Reyes, Joel Ramjist, Xijia J. Gu, and Victor X. D. Yang, "The characterization of neural tissue ablation rate and corresponding heat affected zone of a 2 micron Tm3+ doped fiber laser (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10050, Clinical and Translational Neurophotonics, 100500D (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 28, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2256306.5370387591001.
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