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Modelling light distributions of homogeneous versus discrete absorbers in light irradiated turbid media


Laser treatment of port wine stains has often been modelled assuming that blood is distributed homogeneously over the dermal volume, instead of enclosed within discrete vessels. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the consequences of this assumption. Due to strong light absorption by blood, fluence rate near the centre of the vessel is much lower than at the periphery. Red blood cells near the centre of the vessel therefore absorb less light than those at the periphery. Effectively, when distributed homogeneously over the dermis, fewer red blood cells would produce the same absorption as the actual number of red blood cells distributed in discrete vessels. We quantified this effect by defining a correction factor for the effective absorbing blood volume of a single vessel. For a dermis with multiple vessels, we used this factor to define an effective homogeneous blood concentration. This was used in Monte Carlo computations of the fluence rate in a homogeneous skin model, and compared with fluence rate distributions using discrete blood vessels with equal dermal blood concentration. For realistic values of skin parameters the homogeneous model with corrected blood concentration accurately represents fluence rates in the model with discrete blood vessels. In conclusion, the correction procedure simplifies the calculation of fluence rate distributions in turbid media with discrete absorbers. This will allow future Monte Carlo computations of, for example, colour perception and optimization of vascular damage by laser treatment of port wine stain models with realistic vessel anatomy.

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