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Photocoagulation of dermal blood vessels with multiple laser pulses in an in vivo microvascular model.

Published Web Location Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license


Current laser therapy of port wine stain (PWS) birthmarks with a single laser pulse (SLP) does not produce complete lesion removal in the majority of patients. To improve PWS therapeutic efficacy, we evaluated the performance of an approach based on multiple laser pulses (MLP) to enhance blood vessel photocoagulation.

Study design

The hamster dorsal window chamber model was used. Radiant exposure (RE), pulse repetition rate (f(r)), total number of pulses (n(p)), and length of vessel irradiated were varied. Blood vessels in the window were irradiated with either SLP with RE of 4-7 J/cm(2) or MLP with RE per pulse of 1.4-5.0 J/cm(2), f(r) of 0.5-26.0 Hz, and n(p) of 2-5. The laser wavelength was 532 nm and pulse duration was 1 ms. Either a 2 mm vessel segment or entire vessel branch was irradiated. Digital photographs and laser speckle images of the window were recorded before and at specific time points after laser irradiation to monitor laser-induced blood vessel structural and functional changes, respectively.


We found that: (1) for a SLP approach, the RE required to induce blood vessel photocoagulation was 7 J/cm(2) as compared to only 2 J/cm(2) per pulse for the MLP approach; (2) for MLP, two pulses at a repetition rate of 5 Hz and a RE of 3 J/cm(2) can induce photocoagulation of more than 80% of irradiated blood vessel; and (3) irradiation of a longer segment of blood vessel resulted in lower reperfusion rate.


The MLP approach can induce blood vessel photocoagulation at much lower RE per pulse as compared to SLP. The 5 Hz f(r) and the need for two pulses are achievable with modern laser technology, which makes the MLP approach practical in the clinical management of PWS birthmarks.

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