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Acupunct Electrother Res. 2007;32(1-2):81-6.

Depth of penetration of an 850nm wavelength low level laser in human skin.

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School of Health Sciences and Social Care, Brunel University, Uxbridge Campus, UB8 3PH, UK.


Low Level Laser Therapy is used for a wide variety of conditions including superficial skin sores, musculoskeletal and joint problems, and dentistry. Knowledge of the penetration depth of laser radiation in human skin is an essential prerequisite to identifying its method of action. Mathematical simulations and estimates from the literature suggest that the depth of penetration of laser radiation using wavelengths from 630nm up to 1100nm may be up to 50mm. The aim of this study is to directly measure the penetration depth of a Low Level Laser in human tissue. Human abdominal skin samples up to 0.784mm thickness were harvested by dermatome following abdominoplasty procedures. These samples were irradiated by a Gallium Aluminium Arsenide Laser (Wavelength 850nm near infra-red invisible light, 100mW, 24kHz, 0.28mm diameter probe) and the transmitted radiation measured with an Ophir Optronics 'Nova' external energy meter. The intensity of laser radiation reduced by 66% after being transmitted through a 0.784mm sample of human abdominal tissue. In this study most laser radiation was absorbed within the first 1mm of skin.

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