New “Sonoillumination” Waveguide Device Set to Improve Laser Surgery

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 | Lasers & Light Devices , Research and Publications , American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery


One of the biggest issues with the lasers used to treat benign vascular birthmarks, port-wine stains and for tattoo removal is making sure the laser light, which is held at a distance from the skin, is perfectly and selectively absorbed by only the targeted birthmark or tattoo.

Paul J.D. Whiteside, a doctoral candidate in the University of Missouri Division of Food Systems and Bioengineering, and colleagues devised a system that will not only improve the process, but will be safer for both clinicians and patients.

“The system we developed uses ultrasonic pulsation in conjunction with a clinical laser to alter the properties of skin tissues during the procedure,” Whiteside says in a news release. “We’ve named the technique ‘sonoillumination,’ and we’re hopeful that the procedure will be available widely in the near future.”

Whiteside and his team tested the sonoillumination system on porcine skin tissue samples. Using various amplitudes and pulses, the instruments they developed were tested on the samples and showed great promise for the clinical setting. Whiteside presented his technique t at the annual conference of American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS).

“Our goal is to provide patients with safer, more effective treatment options that potentially lower the number of treatments needed,” says Nicholas Golda, MD, associate professor of dermatology and director of dermatology surgery at the MU School of Medicine, in a news release. “This new technology may also provide physicians with a safer, more controllable option for treating patients.”

The team is in the planning stages of developing a start-up company to commercialize the technique.

PHOTO CREDIT: Ryan Owens, MU College of Engineering 
Paul J.D. Whiteside demonstrates the sonoillumination waveguide device

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