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Lasers Med Sci. 2013 Nov;28(6):1475-82. doi: 10.1007/s10103-012-1250-9. Epub 2013 Jan 10.

Ex vivo investigations of laser auricular cartilage reshaping with carbon dioxide spray cooling in a rabbit model.

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Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic, University of California, Irvine, 1002 Health Sciences Rd. East, Irvine, CA, 92612, USA,


Laser cartilage reshaping (LCR) with cryogen spray cooling is a promising modality for producing cartilage shape change while reducing cutaneous thermal injury. However, LCR in thicker tissues, such as auricular cartilage, requires higher laser power, thus increasing cooling requirements. To eliminate the risks of freeze injury characteristic of high cryogen spray pulse rates, a carbon dioxide (CO2) spray, which evaporates rapidly from the skin, has been proposed as the cooling medium. This study aims to identify parameter sets which produce clinically significant reshaping while producing minimal skin thermal injury in LCR with CO2 spray cooling in ex vivo rabbit auricular cartilage. Excised whole rabbit ears were mechanically deformed around a cylindrical jig and irradiated with a 1.45-μm wavelength diode laser (fluence 12-14 J/cm(2) per pulse, four to six pulse cycles per irradiation site, five to six irradiation sites per row for four rows on each sample) with concomitant application of CO2 spray (pulse duration 33-85 ms) to the skin surface. Bend angle measurements were performed before and after irradiation, and the change quantified. Surface temperature distributions were measured during irradiation/cooling. Maximum skin surface temperature ranged between 49.0 to 97.6 °C following four heating/cooling cycles. Significant reshaping was achieved with all laser dosimetry values with a 50-70 °C difference noted between controls (no cooling) and irradiated ears. Increasing cooling pulse duration yielded progressively improved gross skin protection during irradiation. CO2 spray cooling may potentially serve as an alternative to traditional cryogen spray cooling in LCR and may be the preferred cooling medium for thicker tissues. Future studies evaluating preclinical efficacy in an in vivo rabbit model are in progress.

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