Thermal damage produced by high‐lrradiance continuous wave CO2 laser cutting of tissue

Kevin T. Schomacker, Jay Walsh, Thomas J. Flotte, Thomas F. Deutsch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Thermal damage produced by continuous wave (cw) CO2 laser ablation of tissue in vitro was measured for irradiances ranging from 360 W/cm2 to 740 kW/cm2 in order to investigate the extent to which ablative cooling can limit tissue damage. Damage zones thinner than 100 μm were readily produced using single pulses to cut guinea pig skin as well as bovine cornea, aorta, and myocardium. Multiple pulses can lead to increased damage. However, a systematic decrease in damage with irradiance, predicted theoretically by an evaporation model of ablation, was not observed. The damage‐zone thickness was approximately constant around the periphery of the cut, consistent with the existence of a liquid layer which stores heat and leads to tissue damage, and with a model of damage and ablation recently proposed by Zweig et al.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-84
Number of pages11
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990


  • ablative cooling
  • aorta
  • cornea
  • myocardium
  • pulse repetition rate
  • skin
  • tissue damage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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