The biological applicability of the Erbium-doped Yttrium Aluminum Garnet (Er:YAG) laser in surgical processes is so far limited to hard dental tissues. Using the Er:YAG laser for bone ablation is being studied since it has shown good performance for ablating dental hard tissues at the wavelength 2.94 μm, which coincides with the absorption peak of water, one of the main components of hard tissue, like teeth and bone. To obtain a decent performance of the laser in the cutting process, we aim at examining the influence of sequenced water jet irrigation on both, the ablation rate and the prevention of carbonization while performing laser ablation of bone with fixed laser parameters. An Er:YAG laser at 2.94 μm wavelength, 940 mJ energy per pulse, 400 μs pulse width, and 10 Hz repetition rate is used for the ablation of a porcine femur bone under different pulsed water jet irrigation conditions. We used micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) scans to determine the geometry of the ablated areas. In addition, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) is used for qualitative observations for the presence of carbonization and micro-fractures on the ablated surfaces. We evaluate the performance of the laser ablation process for the different water jet conditions in terms of the ablation rate, quantified by the ablated volume per second and the ablation efficiency, calculated as the ablated volume per pulse energy. We provide an optimized system for laser ablation which delivers the appropriate amount of water to the bone and consequently, the bone is ablated in the most efficient way possible without carbonization.
Lina M. Beltrán Bernal, Gholamreza Shayeganrad, Gabor Kosa, Marek Zelechowski, Georg Rauter, Niklaus Friederich, Philippe C. Cattin, and Azhar Zam, "Performance of Er:YAG laser ablation of hard bone under different irrigation water cooling conditions," Proc. SPIE 10492, Optical Interactions with Tissue and Cells XXIX, 104920B (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 29, 2018; Published: 13 February 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2290929.
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