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Evaluation of laser ablation of knee cartilage as an alternative to microfracture surgery: Pilot investigations

  • Author(s): Su, E;
  • Wong, BJF;
  • Sun, H;
  • Juhasz, T
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.1117/12.847126Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license
Abstract

An emerging clinical treatment option for articular cartilage injury includes bone marrow stimulation techniques, such as microfracture, which has grown increasingly popular among athletes. During the microfracture procedure, the surgeon penetrates the subchondral bone with an awl and creates "microholes" deep enough to ensure bleeding from the bone marrow. This procedure triggers a spontaneous repair response that results in the formation of fibrocartilaginous repair tissue. This preliminary study aimed to evaluate the potential use of femtosecond lasers and Erbium:YAG lasers as alternatives to microfracture surgery of the knee by assessing the effects of ablation on bovine femoral condyles. Bovine femoral condyles were obtained and 8mm cube blocks were extracted. The specimen were ablated with various laser dosimetry parameters and observed using a high power dissecting microscope to examine the effects of the lasers. Further imaging with conventional histology (hematoxylin and eosin staining) was done to provide more accurate information. Preliminary results show some carbonization but demonstrate little thermal damage to surrounding tissues. The femtosecond laser offers a more precise and efficient ablation than the Erbium:YAG laser, but both are demonstrated to be possible alternatives to the surgical-skill dependent microfracture procedure. © 2010 Copyright SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering.

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