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Cartilage reshaping: An overview of the state of the art

Published Web Location Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

The laser irradiation of cartilage results in a plastic deformation of the tissue allowing for the creation of new stable shapes. During photothermal stimulation, mechanically deformed cartilage undergoes a temperature dependent phase transition, which results in accelerated stress relaxation of the tissue matrix. Cartilage specimens thus reshaped can be used to recreate the underlying framework of structures in the head and neck. Optimization of this process has required an understanding of the biophysical processes accompanying reshaping and also determination of the laser dosimetry parameters, which maintain graft viability. Extensive in vitro, ex-vivo, and in vivo animal investigations, as well as human trials, have been conducted. This technology is now in use to correct septal deviations in an office-based setting. While the emphasis of clinical investigation has focused on septoplasty procedures, laser mediated cartilage reshaping may have application in surgical procedures involving the trachea, laryngeal framework, external ear, and nasal tip. Future directions for research and device design are discussed.

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