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Modelling multiple laser pulses for port wine stain treatment

  • Author(s): Verkruysse, W
  • van Gemert, MJC
  • Smithies, DJ
  • Nelson, JS
  • et al.
Abstract

Many port wine stains (PWS) are still resistant to pulsed dye laser treatment. However, anecdotal information suggests that multiple-pulse laser irradiation improves patient outcome. Our aims in this note are to explain the underlying mechanism and estimate the possible thermal effects of multiple pulses in vascular structures typical of PWS. Based on linear response theory, the linear combination of two thermal contributions is responsible for the total increase in temperature in laser irradiated blood vessels: direct light absorption by blood and direct bilateral thermal heat conduction from adjacent blood vessels. The latter contribution to the increase in temperature in the targeted vessel can be significant, particularly if some adjacent vessels are in close proximity, such as in cases of optical shielding of the targeted vessel, or if the vessels are relatively distant but many in number. We present evidence that multiple-pulse laser irradiation targets blood vessels that are optically shielded by other vessels. Therefore, it may be a means of enhancing PWS therapy for lesions that fail to respond to single-pulse dye laser treatment.

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