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Lasers Med Sci. 2007 Mar;22(1):10-4. Epub 2006 Nov 7.

Effect of laser soldering irradiation on covalent bonds of pure collagen.

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Plastic Surgery Department, Inselspital, University of Bern, 3010, Bern, Switzerland.


Laser tissue welding and soldering is being increasingly used in the clinical setting for defined surgical procedures. The exact induced changes responsible for tensile strength are not yet fully investigated. To further improve the strength of the bonding, a better understanding of the laser impact at the subcellular level is necessary. The goal of this study was to analyze whether the effect of laser irradiation on covalent bonding in pure collagen using irradiances typically applied for tissue soldering. Pure rabbit and equine type I collagen were subjected to laser irradiation. In the first part of the study, rabbit and equine collagen were compared using identical laser and irradiation settings. In the second part of the study, equine collagen was irradiated at increasing laser powers. Changes in covalent bonding were studied indirectly using the sodium dodecylsulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) technique. Tensile strengths of soldered membranes were measured with a calibrated tensile force gauge. In the first experiment, no differences between the species-specific collagen bands were noted, and no changes in banding were found on SDS-PAGE after laser irradiation. In the second experiment, increasing laser irradiation power showed no effect on collagen banding in SDS-PAGE. Finally, the laser tissue soldering of pure collagen membranes showed virtually no determinable tensile strength. Laser irradiation of pure collagen at typical power settings and exposure times generally used in laser tissue soldering does not induce covalent bonding between collagen molecules. This is true for both rabbit and equine collagen proveniences. Furthermore, soldering of pure collagen membranes without additional cellular components does not achieve the typical tensile strength reported in native, cell-rich tissues. This study is a first step in a better understanding of laser impact at the molecular level and might prove useful in engineering of combined collagen-soldering matrix membranes for special laser soldering applications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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