BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Long-term benefits can be predicted by the incorporation of more intelligent systems in lasers and other devices. Such systems can produce more reliable zones of thermal injury when used in association with non-invasive monitoring and precise laser energy delivery. The more classical endpoint of tumor destruction with radiofrequency or long-pulsed (LP) 1064 nm laser is the non-specific appearance of tissue graying and tissue contraction. Herein we discuss combining non-invasive LP 1064 nm Nd:YAG treatment with the assistance of optical coherence tomography (OCT) and the forward-looking infrared (FLIR) thermal camera while testing literature-based formulae for thermal destruction.
Study design/materials and methods
The skin on the forearm and back of two consenting volunteers was marked and anesthetized with lidocaine with epinephrine. The parameters of a scanner-equipped LP 1064 nm Nd:YAG laser were adjusted to achieve an epidermal/superficial dermal heating of between 50°C and 60°C over a specified time course. Experimental single treatments examined various adjusted parameters including, fluence, pulse overlap, pulse duration, scan size, and pulse rate. A FLIR camera was used to record skin temperature. Outcome measures included skin temperature, post-treatment appearance, and OCT assessment of skin and vascular damage. The clinical response of each treatment was followed daily for 4 weeks.
Optimal protocols initially raised the skin temperature to between 55°C and 60°C, which was carefully maintained using subsequent laser passes over a 60-second time course. Immediately post laser, clinical responses included erythema, edema, and blistering. Immediate OCT revealed increased vascularity with intact, dilated blood vessels. Prolonged exposure above 60°C resulted in sub-epidermal blistering and an absence of blood flow in the treatment area with prolonged healing.
The LP 1064 nm laser can be used to achieve heat-related tissue injury, though the narrow parameters necessary for the desired endpoint require the assistance of IR thermal regulation to avoid unacceptable outcomes. The use of the laser scanner ensures precise energy delivery over a defined treatment area. Future studies might explore this as a selective hyperthermic method for the treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer. Lasers Surg. Med. © 2021 Wiley Periodicals LLC.