European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 270, Issue 11, pp 2927–2937 | Cite as

Picosecond infrared laser (PIRL): an ideal phonomicrosurgical laser?

  • Markus HessEmail author
  • Michael Dominik Hildebrandt
  • Frank Müller
  • Sebastian Kruber
  • Peter Kroetz
  • Udo Schumacher
  • Rudolph Reimer
  • Michael Kammal
  • Klaus Püschel
  • Wolfgang Wöllmer
  • Dwayne MillerEmail author


A comparison of tissue cutting effects in excised cadaver human vocal folds after incisions with three different instruments [scalpel, CO2 laser and the picosecond infrared laser—(PIRL)] was performed. In total, 15 larynges were taken from human cadavers shortly after death. After deep freezing and thawing for the experiment, the vocal folds suspended in the hemilarynx were incised. Histology and environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) analyses were performed. Damage zones after cold instrument cuts ranged from 51 to 135 μm, as compared to 9–28 μm after cutting with the PIRL. It was shown that PIRL incision had smaller zones of tissue coagulation and tissue destruction, when compared with scalpel and CO2 laser cuts. The PIRL technology provides an (almost) atraumatic laser, which offers a quantum jump towards realistic ‘micro’-phonosurgery on a factual cellular dimension, almost entirely avoiding coagulation, carbonization, or other ways of major tissue destruction in the vicinity of the intervention area. Although not available for clinical use yet, the new technique appears promising for future clinical applications, so that technical and methodological characteristics as well as tissue experiments seem worthwhile to be communicated at this stage of development.


Laser surgery Carbon dioxide laser CO2 laser Picosecond infrared laser PIRL Scalpel Vocal folds Phonomicrosurgery ESEM Microscopy 



This study is part of the SUREPIRL project funded by an advanced grant from the European Research Council (ERC-AdG-2011-291630). We thank S. Feldhaus, H. Maar, T. Gosau and C. Köpke for excellent technical assistance. We thank H. Hohenberg and M. Heine for helpful discussions and expert advice.

Conflict of interest

RJDM is the author of the patent covering the PIRL process and is one of the founders of Attodyne Inc. All other authors declare no conflicts of interest. There has been no financial relationship with any sponsoring organization.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Markus Hess
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael Dominik Hildebrandt
    • 1
  • Frank Müller
    • 1
  • Sebastian Kruber
    • 2
  • Peter Kroetz
    • 2
  • Udo Schumacher
    • 3
  • Rudolph Reimer
    • 4
  • Michael Kammal
    • 5
  • Klaus Püschel
    • 5
  • Wolfgang Wöllmer
    • 6
  • Dwayne Miller
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Voice, Speech and Hearing DisordersUniversity Medical Center Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Physics, Max Planck Department for Structural Dynamics, Center for Free Electron Laser Science, DESYUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of Anatomy and Experimental MorphologyUniversity Medical Center Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany
  4. 4.Research Group of Electron Microscopy and Micro-TechnologyHeinrich-Pette-Institute, Leibnitz Institute of Experimental VirologyHamburgGermany
  5. 5.Department of Legal MedicineUniversity Medical Center Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany
  6. 6.Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck SurgeryUniversity Medical Center Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany

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