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Phys Med Biol. 1995 Feb;40(2):241-52.

Selective cooling of biological tissues: application for thermally mediated therapeutic procedures.

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Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic, University of California, Irvine, USA.


The ability to control the degree and spatial distribution of cooling in biological tissues during a thermally mediated therapeutic procedure would be useful for several biomedical applications of lasers. We present a theory based on the solution of the heat conduction equation that demonstrates the feasibility of selectively cooling biological tissues. Model predictions are compared with infrared thermal measurements of in vivo human skin in response to cooling by a cryogen spurt. The presence of a boundary layer, undergoing a liquid-vapour phase transition, is associated with a relatively large thermal convection coefficient (approximately 40 kW m-2 K-1), which gives rise to the observed surface temperature reductions (30-40 degrees C). The degree and the spatial-temporal distribution of cooling are shown to be directly related to the cryogen spurt duration.

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