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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Scanning electron microscopy of otic capsule and calvarial bone ablated by a holmium-YAG laser

  • Author(s): Wong, BJF
  • Liaw, LHL
  • Neev, J
  • Berns, MW
  • et al.

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was performed on holmium-YAG laser ablated bone in order to study the surface morphology of the ablation crater. An otosurgical bone model of porcine otic capsule and calvarial cortical bone was used. Otic capsule bone is dense and homogeneous whereas cortical bone is porous. Both bone tissues were studied under fresh and dehydrated conditions to investigate the role of water in the ablation process. Laser irradiation time was varied from 5 to 60 s. Laser flux was 85 mJ pulse−1at 4-Hz pulse repetition rate. Globular spheroids of melted bone material were noted in both wet and dried specimens for both tissues. Several of these globules ruptured yielding an SEM image which suggests a violent ejection process. SEMs of dry cortical bone demonstrated the presence of fibres which reflect the selective removal of inorganic surface bone constituents with preservation of subsurface residual collagen fibres. The ablation crater walls in wet tissues appear rougher and possibly reflect a more violent ablation process due to water vaporization causing expulsion of bone material. In contrast, the crater walls in dry tissue appear smoother. © 1994, W.B. Saunders Company Ltd. All rights reserved.

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