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Comparison of Ho:YAG versus Nd:YAG thoracoscopic laser treatment of pulmonary bullae in a rabbit model.

  • Author(s): Brenner, M
  • Wong, H
  • Yoong, B
  • Wang, NS
  • Chen, JC
  • Budd, M
  • Hamilton, A
  • Tadir, Y
  • McKenna, R
  • Fischel, RJ
  • Huh, J
  • Tromberg, B
  • Wilson, AF
  • et al.


To determine the relative efficacy and morbidity of Ho:YAG versus Nd:YAG laser treatment of bullous lung disease in an animal model.

Summary background data

Laser coagulation procedures for treatment of emphysematous pulmonary bullae and heterogeneous emphysema continue to evolve. The role of lasers in lung volume reduction surgery remains controversial due to issues of relative efficacy and morbidity. The Nd:YAG laser is most commonly used for these procedures. We hypothesized that the shallower penetration of the Ho:YAG laser may be better suited for laser bullae coagulation and emphysema lung volume reduction with increased efficacy and reduced lung injury.


Thirty New Zealand White rabbits (15 normal rabbits; 15 with bullous lung disease) were evaluated with Ho:YAG compared to Nd:YAG laser exposures. Bullae were coagulated by either Ho:YAG or Nd:YAG treatment. In all animals (bullous-induced and normals), unaffected lung tissue in the upper lobes and contralateral lungs were treated with 5 spot exposures of Nd:YAG and Ho:YAG, each to assess depth of lung injury. Animals were sacrificed at Days 0, 7, and 21 and their lungs were examined histologically.


Ho:YAG and Nd:YAG exposures caused equivalent lung injury to normal lung tissue. In the acute phase, parenchymal necrosis depth was similar for both Ho:YAG and Nd:YAG (850 +/- 273 microns vs. 900 +/- 270 microns respectively, p = 0.7). By Day 7, lung necrosis depth was 925 +/- 133 microns Ho:YAG vs. 1225 +/- 235 microns Nd:YAG (p = 0.33), and lung fibrosis depth was 300 +/- 134 microns Ho:YAG vs. 558 +/- 127 microns Nd:YAG (p = 0.11). By Day 21, pulmonary parenchymal necrosis was not seen. Pleural fibrosis depth was maximal at Day 21, reaching 250 +/- 102 microns for Ho:YAG vs. 300 +/- 156 microns Nd:YAG (P = 0.88). Pleural necrosis depth was 67 +/- 42 microns Ho:YAG vs 48 +/- 34 microns Nd:YAG (p = 0.42) on Day 7 and resolved by Day 21. During surgical coagulation procedures, the Ho:YAG laser was dramatically more efficient in coagulating bullae. The Ho:YAG laser required less exposure at equivalent power and resulted in immediate desiccation of bullae, in sharp contrast to the Nd:YAG laser.


Because the Ho:YAG was more effective and did not result in more acute lung injury than the standard Nd:YAG laser in this study, Ho:YAG lasers may have improved potential for laser treatment of bullae or lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) compared to Nd:YAG lasers.

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