Pulsed Laser Tissue Interaction

  • Joseph T. Walsh
  • Ton G. van Leeuwen
  • E. Duco Jansen
  • Massoud Motamedi
  • Ashley J. Welch


Pulsed lasers, by virtue of their ability to deliver energy in a spatially and temporally confined fashion, are able to micromachine biological tissues. The clinical success of pulsed laser treatment, however, is often limited by the extent of damage that is caused to the tissue in the vicinity of the ablation crater. In general, pulsed ablation is a trade off between thermal damage to surrounding tissue, caused by relatively long pulses (>100 ms), and mechanical damage to surrounding tissue, caused by relatively short pulses (<1 ms). To identify the origin of pulsed laser induced damage, the possible laser tissue interactions and ablation are discussed here and in Chapter 14. The purpose of this chapter is to provide the reader with a condensed overview of the parameters that must be considered in the process of pulsed laser ablation of soft tissue. In this chapter, pulsed infrared ablation of biological soft tissue is used as a paradigm to illustrate the concepts and design considerations. Generally speaking, the absorption of laser light may lead to photothermal, photomechanical or photochemical interaction with the irradiated tissue [1–5]. The vast majority of therapeutic laser-tissue interactions is based on photothermal interactions where laser energy is converted into heat. Subsequent to thermalization of the absorbed optical energy, heat transfer mechanisms, in particular conduction allow thermal diffusion from high temperature areas to surrounding regions. When laser penetration depth is less than the laser spot radius, the thermal diffusion time, τ th, can be defined as:


Thermal Damage Pulse Repetition Rate Bubble Formation Ablation Process Pulse Laser Ablation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph T. Walsh
    • 1
  • Ton G. van Leeuwen
    • 2
  • E. Duco Jansen
    • 3
  • Massoud Motamedi
    • 4
  • Ashley J. Welch
    • 5
  1. 1.Biomedical Engineering DepartmentNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical Engineering and PhysicsAcademic Medical Center, University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Departments of Biomedical Engineering and NeurosurgeryVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  4. 4.Center for Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Biomedical EngineeringThe University of TexasAustinUSA

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