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Ex vivo study of Ho:YAG and thulium fiber lasers for soft tissue surgery: which laser for which case?

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The goal of this study was to assess the ablation, coagulation, and carbonization characteristics of the holmium:YAG (Ho:YAG) laser and thulium fiber lasers (TFL). The Ho:YAG laser (100 W av.power), the quasi-continuous (QCW) TFL (120 W av.power), and the SuperPulsed (SP) TFL (50 W av.power) were compared on a non-frozen porcine kidney. To control the cutting speed (2 or 5 mm/s), an XY translation stage was used. The Ho:YAG was tested using E = 1.5 J and Pav = 40 W or Pav = 70 W settings. The TFL was tested using E = 1.5 J and Pav = 30 W or Pav = 60 W settings. After ex vivo incision, histological analysis was performed in order to estimate thermal damage. At 40 W, the Ho:YAG displayed a shallower cutting at 2 and 5 mm/s (1.1 ± 0.2 mm and 0.5 ± 0.2 mm, respectively) with virtually zero coagulation. While at 70 W, the minimal coagulation depth measured 0.1 ± 0.1 mm. The incisions demonstrated zero carbonization. Both the QCW and SP TFL did show effective cutting at all speeds (2.1 ± 0.2 mm and 1.3 ± 0.2 mm, respectively, at 30 W) with prominent coagulation (0.6 ± 0.1 mm and 0.4 ± 0.1 mm, respectively, at 70 W) and carbonization. Our study introduced the TFL as a novel efficient alternative for soft tissue surgery to the Ho:YAG laser. The SP TFL offers a Ho:YAG-like incision, while QCW TFL allows for fast, deep, and precise cutting with increased carbonization.

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Taratkin, M., Kovalenko, A., Laukhtina, E. et al. Ex vivo study of Ho:YAG and thulium fiber lasers for soft tissue surgery: which laser for which case?. Lasers Med Sci 37, 149–154 (2022).

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