Overview of Optical and Thermal Laser-Tissue Interaction and Nomenclature

  • A. J. Welch
  • Martin J. C. Van Gemert
Part of the Lasers, Photonics, and Electro-Optics book series (LPEO)


The development of a unified theory for the optical and thermal response of tissue to laser radiation is in its infancy. This book describes our current understanding of the physical events that can occur when light interacts with tissue. We present a sequence of formulations that estimate the optical and thermal responses of tissue to laser radiation. Part I considers basic tissue optics. Tissue is treated as an absorbing and scattering medium and methods are presented for calculating and measuring light propagation. Also, methods for estimating tissue optical properties from measurements of reflection and transmission are discussed. Part II concerns the thermal response of tissue owing to absorbed light, and rate reactions are presented for predicting the extent of laser-induced thermal damage. Methods for measuring temperature, thermal properties, and rate constants are detailed. Part III is devoted to examples that use the theory presented in Parts I and II to analyze various medical applications of lasers.


Thermal Response Fluence Rate Free Path Length Port Wine Stain Tissue Optic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Ishimaru A. Wave Propagation and Scattering in Random Media, Vol. 1: Single Scattering and Transport Theory, Academic Press, New York, 1978.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Carslaw HS, Jaeger JC. Conduction of Heat in Solids, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 1959.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Quantities and Units of Light and Related Electromagnetic Radiations, International Standard ISO 31/6, 1980 (E), International Organization for Standardization, Switzerland, 1980.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    “Review of concepts, quantities, units and terminology for non-ionizing radiation protection: A report of the International Non-Ionizing Radiation Committee of the International Radiation Protection Association,” Health Phys. 49(6): 1329–1362, 1985.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Prahl SA. “Light transport in tissue,” PhD Dissertation, The University of Texas, Austin, Texas, 1988.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. Welch
    • 1
  • Martin J. C. Van Gemert
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.Laser CenterAcademic Medical CenterAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations