Date of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)

Department

Medical Physics

Supervisor

Qiyin Fang

Co-Supervisor

Joseph E. Hayward

Language

English

Committee Member

Harold K. Haugen

Abstract

Mechanical oscillating drills and saws are used in orthopaedic surgery to cut bone and develop screw-holes; however, their use causes friction resulting in significant thermal damage. Ultrashort pulsed lasers appear well-suited to replace traditional tools as they have the ability to efficiently remove bone tissue while causing only minimal collateral damage. Laser ablation also has the added advantages of: (i) no mechanical vibration; (ii) minimal invasiveness; and (iii) small focus spot size. In this thesis work, we experimentally investigated a few key aspects of ultrashort laser ablation of bone tissue.

The ablation threshold of unaltered bone was measured using the D2 technique and found to range from 1.66 J/cm2 ± 0.87 J/cm2 to 2.37 J/cm2 ± 0.78 J/cm2 depending on incident pulse number. The reduction in ablation threshold with pulse number was an indication of an incubation effect. Using a power law model, the incubation coefficient, ζ, was measured to be 0.89 ± 0.03.

The effect of specific laser parameters and drilling protocols on ablation efficiency was also characterized. For ultrashort pulses (≤10 ps), the removal rate was found to be inversely related to the pulse duration; however, irradiation with 5-10 ps pulses were also shown to result in significant tissue removal. With a pulse repetition rate of 1 kHz, the removal rate was observed to be highest when ablating with 50-100 pulses per spot.

Larger volumes (>1 mm3) of bone tissue were removed using laser scanning procedures. A series of scanned concentric circles produced a structure ~2.4 mm deep; however, ablated side-lobes were present at oblique angles to the incident beam. A two-layer structure subsequently produced no side-lobes. The ablative precision in trabecular bone was observed to be less than cortical bone. Using mimicked Nd:YAG laser parameters, cylindrical drilling produced craters significantly less deep than those achieved with a typical Ti:Sapphire configuration. The ability to drill large-scale holes using low average pulse energies and optimized scanning procedures will alleviate the stringent requirements for optical components in clinical practice.

McMaster University Library

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