Transcutaneous transmission of photobiomodulation light to the spinal canal of dog as measured from cadaver dogs using a multi-channel intra-spinal probe

  • Daqing PiaoEmail author
  • Lara A. Sypniewski
  • Danielle Dugat
  • Christian Bailey
  • Daniel J. Burba
  • Luis DeTaboada
Original Article


The target level photobiomodulation (PBM) irradiances along the thoracic to lumbar segment of the interior spinal canal in six cadaver dogs resulting from surface illumination at 980 nm were measured. Following a lateral hemi-laminectomy, a flexible probe fabricated on a plastic tubular substrate of 6.325 mm diameter incorporating nine miniature photodetectors was embedded in the thoracic to lumbar segment of the spinal canal. Intra-spinal irradiances at the nine photodetector sites, spanning an approximate 8 cm length caudal to T13, were measured for various applied powers of continuous wave (CW) surface illumination at 980 nm with a maximal power of 10 W corresponding to a surface irradiance of 3.14 W/cm2. The surface illumination conditions differed in skin transmission when the probe was off-contact with tissue and probe-skin contact when the skin was in place. For each condition of surface illumination, the beam was directed to respectively T13 (surface site 1), a spinal column site 4 cm caudal to T13 (surface site 5), and a spinal column site 8 cm caudal to T13 (surface site 9). Off-contact surface irradiation of 3.14 W/cm2 at surface sites 1, 5, and 9 transmitted respectively 234.0 ± 120.7 μW/cm2, 230.7 ± 178.3 μW/cm2, and 130.2 ± 169.6 μW/cm2 to the spinal canal without the skin, and respectively 35.7 ± 33.2 μW/cm2, 50.9 ± 75.3 μW/cm2, and 15.7 ± 16.3 μW/cm2 with the skin. Transmission with skin was as low as 12% of the transmission without the skin. On-contact surface irradiation of 3.14 W/cm2 at surface sites 1, 5, and 9 transmitted respectively 44.6 ± 43.1 μW/cm2, 85.4 ± 139.1 μW/cm2, and 22.0 ± 23.6 μW/cm2 to the spinal canal. On-contact application increased transmission by a maximum of 67% comparing to off-contact application. The information gathered highlights the need to clinically consider the impact of skin transmission and on-contact application technique when attempting to treat spinal cord disease with PBM.


Photobiomodulation Low-level light therapy 980 nm Dosimetry Spinal cord injury Transcutaneous 


Funding information

LiteCure LLC.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

L. DeTaboada has financial interest in LiteCure LLC which produced the laser unit used for this study. D. Piao received a grant from LiteCure LLC for directing this work. No other conflicts of interest exist for this study.

Ethical approval

The use of cadaver dogs for this study was exempted by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Oklahoma State University.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Center for Veterinary Health SciencesOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA
  2. 2.School of Electrical and Computer EngineeringOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA
  3. 3.LiteCure LLCCarlsbadUSA

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