Pulsed CO2 laser tissue ablation: Measurement of the ablation rate

Joseph T. Walsh*, Thomas F. Deutsch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


Ablation of guinea pig skin using a CO2 laser emitting 2‐μsec‐long pulses has been quantified by measuring the mass of tissue removed as a function of incident fluence per pulse. The mass‐loss curves show three distinct regimes in which water evaporation, explosive tissue removal, and laser‐induced plasma formation dominate. The data are fit to two models that predict that the mass removed depends either linearly or logarithmically on fluence. Although the data are best fit by a linear dependence upon fluence, plasma formation at high fluences prohibited obtaining data over a wide enough fluence range to differentiate unambiguously between the two models. Ablation efficiency, ablation thresholds, and the optical penetration depth at 10.6 μm were obtained from the measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-275
Number of pages12
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988


  • ablation efficiency
  • absorption coefficient
  • effect of beam profile
  • modeling
  • threshold fluence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology

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