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Wavelengths for port wine stain laser treatment: influence of vessel radius and skin anatomy.


Recent Monte Carlo computations in realistic port wine stain (PWS) models containing numerous uniformly distributed vessels suggest equal depth of vascular injury at wavelengths of 577 and 585 nm. This finding contradicts clinical experience and previous theory. From a skin model containing normal and PWS vessels in separate dermal layers, we estimate analytically the average volumetric heat production in the deepest targeted PWS vessel. The fluence rate distribution is approximated by Beer's law, which depends upon the tissue's effective attenuation coefficient, and includes a homogeneous fractional volumetric blood concentration corrected for finite-size blood vessels. The model predicts 585-587 nm wavelengths are optimal in adult PWSs containing at least one layer of small-radius blood vessels. In superficial PWSs, typically in young children with small-radius vessels, 577-580 nm wavelengths are optimal. Wavelength-independent results similar to those from Monte Carlo models are valid in single-layered PWSs of large-radius vessels. In conclusion, the volumetric heat production in the deepest targeted PWS blood vessel can be maximized on an individual patient basis. However, absorption of 585-587 nm wavelengths is sufficiently high in superficial lesions, so we hypothesize that these wavelengths may be considered adequate for the treatment of any PWS.

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