Photothermal effects of laser tissue soldering

Karen M. McNally*, Brian S. Sorg, Ashley J. Weich, Judith M. Dawes, Earl R. Owen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    64 Citations (Scopus)


    Low-strength anastomoses and thermal damage of tissue are major concerns in laser tissue welding techniques where laser energy is used to induce thermal changes in the molecular structure of the tissues being joined, hence allowing them to bond together. Laser tissue soldering, on the other hand, is a bonding technique in which a protein solder is applied to the tissue surfaces to be joined, and laser energy is used to bond the solder to the tissue surfaces. The addition of protein solders to augment tissue repair procedures significantly reduces the problems of low strength and thermal damage associated with laser tissue welding techniques. Investigations were conducted to determine optimal solder and laser parameters for tissue repair in terms of tensile strength, temperature rise and damage and the microscopic nature of the bonds formed. An in vitro study was performed using an 808 nm diode laser in conjunction with indocyanine green (ICG)-doped albumin protein solders to repair bovine aorta specimens. Liquid and solid protein solders prepared from 25% and 60% bovine serum albumin (BSA), respectively, were compared. The efficacy of temperature feedback control in enhancing the soldering process was also investigated. Increasing the BSA concentration from 25% to 60% greatly increased the tensile strength of the repairs. A reduction in dye concentration from 2.5 mg ml-1 to 0.25 mg ml-1 was also found to result in an increase in tensile strength. Increasing the laser irradiance and thus surface temperature resulted in an increased severity of histological injury. Thermal denaturation of tissue collagen and necrosis of the intimal layer smooth muscle cells increased laterally and in depth with higher temperatures. The strongest repairs were produced with an irradiance of 6.4 W cm-2 using a solid protein solder composed of 60% BSA and 0.25 mg ml-1 ICG. Using this combination of laser and solder parameters, surface temperatures were observed to reach 85 ± 5°C with a maximum temperature difference through the 150 μm thick solder strips of about 15°C. Histological examination of the repairs formed using these parameters showed negligible evidence of collateral thermal damage to the underlying tissue. Scanning electron microscopy suggested albumin intertwining within the tissue collagen matrix and subsequent fusion with the collagen as the mechanism for laser tissue soldering. The laser tissue soldering technique is shown to be an effective method for producing repairs with improved tensile strength and minimal collateral thermal damage over conventional laser tissue welding techniques.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)983-1002
    Number of pages20
    JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 1999


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