High-speed thermal imaging enables visualization of heating of the vestibule during laser-assisted stapedotomy, comparing KTP, CO2, and Thulium laser light. Perforation of the stapes footplate with laser bears the risk of heating of the inner ear fluids. The amount of heating depends on absorption of the laser light and subsequent tissue ablation. The ablation of the footplate is driven by strong water absorption for the CO2 and Thulium laser. For the KTP laser wavelength, ablation is driven by carbonization of the footplate and it might penetrate deep into the inner ear without absorption in water. The thermal effects were visualized in an inner ear model, using two new techniques: (1) high-speed Schlieren imaging shows relative dynamic changes of temperatures up to 2 ms resolution in the perilymph. (2) Thermo imaging provides absolute temperature measurements around the footplate up to 40 ms resolution. The high-speed Schlieren imaging showed minimal heating using the KTP laser. Both CO2 and Thulium laser showed heating below the footplate. Thulium laser wavelength generated heating up to 0.6 mm depth. This was confirmed with thermal imaging, showing a rise of temperature of 4.7 (±3.5) °C for KTP and 9.4 (±6.9) for Thulium in the area of 2 mm below the footplate. For stapedotomy, the Thulium and CO2 laser show more extended thermal effects compared to KTP. High-speed Schlieren imaging and thermal imaging are complimentary techniques to study lasers thermal effects in tissue.
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Some of the laser equipment used for this study was provided by Omniguide, Cambridge, MA, USA and Biolase, Irvine, Ca, USA.
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Kamalski, D.M.A., Verdaasdonk, R.M., de Boorder, T. et al. Comparison of KTP, Thulium, and CO2 laser in stapedotomy using specialized visualization techniques: thermal effects. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 271, 1477–1483 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00405-013-2624-8