Development of a thulium (Tm:YAP) laser system for brain tissue ablation
In this study, a thulium (Tm:YAP) laser system was developed for brain surgery applications. As the Tm:YAP laser is a continuous-wave laser delivered via silica fibers, it would have great potential for stereotaxic neurosurgery with highest local absorption in the IR region. The laser system developed in this study allowed the user to set the power level, exposure time, and modulation parameters (pulse width and on-off cycles). The Tm:YAP laser beam (200-600 mW, 69-208 W/cm 2) was delivered from a distance of 2 mm to cortical and subcortical regions of ex-vivo Wistar rat brain tissue samples via a 200-μm-core optical fiber. The system performance, dosimetry study, and ablation characteristics of the Tm:YAP laser were tested at different power levels by maximizing the therapeutic effects and minimizing unwanted thermal side-effects. The coagulation and ablation diameters were measured under microscope. The maximum ablation efficiency (100 × ablation diameter/coagulation diameter) was obtained when the Tm:YAP laser system was operated at 200 mW for 10 s. At this laser dose, the ablation efficiency was found to be 71.4% and 58.7% for cortical and subcortical regions, respectively. The fiber-coupled Tm:YAP laser system in hence proposed for the delivery of photothermal therapies in medical applications. © 2011 Springer-Verlag London Ltd.