Excimer Laser Debridement of Necrotic Erosions of Skin without Collateral Damage

Pulsed ArF excimer laser radiation at 6.4 eV, at fluence exceeding the ablation threshold, will debride burn eschar and other dry necrotic erosions of the skin. Debridement will cease when sufficiently moist viable tissue is exposed, due to absorption by aqueous chloride ions (Cl-) through the non-thermal process of electron photodetachment, thereby inhibiting collateral damage to the viable tissue.

ArF excimer laser radiation debrides/ablates ~1 micron of tissue with each pulse. While this provides great precision in controlling the depth of debridement, the process is relatively time-consuming. In contrast, XeCl excimer laser radiation debrides ~8 microns of tissue with each pulse. However the 4.0 eV photon energy of the XeCl excimer laser is insufficient to photodetach an electron from a Cl- ion, so blood or saline will not inhibit debridement. Consequently, a practical laser debridement system should incorporate both lasers, used in sequence. First, the XeCl excimer laser would be used for accelerated debridement. When the necrotic tissue is thinned to a predetermined thickness, the ArF excimer laser would be used for very precise and well-controlled debridement, removing ultra-thin layers of material with each pulse. Clearly, the use of the ArF laser is very desirable when debriding very close to the interface between necrotic tissue and viable tissue, where the overall speed of debridement need not be so rapid and collateral damage to viable tissue is undesirable. Such tissue will be sterile and ready for further treatment, such as a wound dressing and/or a skin graft.

By: James J. Wynne, Jerome M. Felsenstein, Robert Trzcinski, Donna Zupanski-Nielsen, Daniel P. Connors

Published in: RC25156 in 2011


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