Prevention of Ice Formation on Tissue Surfaces Caused By Cooling During Laser Surgery
Background: A complication of using a cryogen gas to provide cooling during laser irradiation of biological tissues is the formation of ice crystals. This formation of ice on the tissue surface causes two major problems: 1) it decreases the incident light dosage due to optical scattering by the cryogen-ice layer, and 2) it decreases the cooling effectiveness of the cryogen because cryogen becomes trapped in the ice and cannot easily evaporate. Technology: Researchers at the University of California have devised a means of dynamically controlling the water vapor content of the ambient air around the laser-skin contact area. The apparatus minimizes the formation of ice crystals as cryogen is introduced to the same area for maintaining comfortable skin temperatures. The UC system can easily be added on to any cryogen cooling system for laser surgery. Application: The UC technology has utility in any type of laser surgery that will benefit from dynamic cooling of the tissue surface by cryogen.
ADVANTAGES: By eliminating ice crystal formation at the tissue surface, the UC technology:
- Eliminates laser power losses from light scattering by the ice layer;
- Improves the cooling efficiency of the cryogen;
- Eliminates potential cryo-injuries arising from excess ice formation.
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