Cooling the "oven": A temperature study of air and glottal tissue during laser surgery in an ex vivo calf larynx model

James A. Burns, Gerardo Lopez-Guerra, James T. Heaton, James B. Kobler, Julie Kraas, Steven M. Zeitels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: Endoscopic microlaryngeal laser surgery performed with general anesthesia through a laryngoscope speculum generates heat that accumulates at the distal lumen, creating an "oven" effect and potentially causing bystander thermal damage to nontarget tissue such as the contralateral vocal fold. We report the effects of cooling on air and tissue temperatures that occurred during simulated laryngeal laser surgery with KTP and thulium lasers in an ex vivo calf model. Methods: Ten fresh excised calf larynges were studied at room temperature. Laser energy was applied to one vocal fold for 2 minutes, with or without cooling, while temperatures were monitored with sensors placed within the glottal lumen or inserted superficially into the contralateral vocal fold. A pulsed KTP laser (525 mJ) was used for 5 larynges, and a thulium laser (7 W, continuous) was used for the other 5 larynges. Results: Heating was slightly greater for the KTP laser than for the thulium laser with use of these parameters. The lumen temperatures for both lasers increased an average of 13.2°C without cooling, but only 6.7°C with cooling (p < 0.05). The contralateral vocal fold (subepithelial space) temperature increased an average of 6.8°C without cooling, but only 4.2°C with cooling (p > 0.05). Conclusions: Cooling with room-temperature air during laryngeal laser surgery reduces luminal air and contralateral vocal fold temperatures. This effect is believed to be due to elimination of the plume of steam and smoke that significantly heats surrounding structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)684-689
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Cooling
  • Laser
  • Microlaryngoscopy
  • Thermal damage
  • Vocal cord
  • Vocal fold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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