Nose straightened by laser

A unique methodology that allows to control the form of cartilage tissues in the human organism has been developed by researchers of the Moscow Institute of Laser and Information Technologies Problems, Russian Academy of Sciences. A new methodology is based on strictly controllable heating of cartilages – for example, those of crooked nasal septum or injured intervertebral disks, – with the help of infrared laser radiation.

So far, the problem of crooked nasal septum has been solved only through surgical operation. However, this operation is very traumatic, it is performed under general anaesthetic and is connected with significant loss of blood. Therefore, not all patients agree to this operation, although it required by many – almost every fifth person. A new approach allows to do without any surgical operation, replacing the operation by a painless ten-minute procedure.

The phenomenon it is based on was discovered by Emil Sobol, Doctor of Science (Physics and Mathematics) back in 1992. That is the so-called effect of stress relaxation and change of cartilage shape under exposure to nondestructive laser heating. The essence is that a short-term heating up to a strictly defined temperature of approximately 70 degrees C makes the cartilage tissue soft and it can be put into any desired shape, which will be preserved after cooling down.

Certainly, the cartilages should be heated very carefully. That is a living tissue and it should not be “spoiled” – it should not denature or even worse –burn down. Apparently, only target area should be exposed to laser irradiation, all surrounding tissues should not be heated. The scientists have determined that mechanical and optical properties of the cartilaginous tissue depend a lot on the patient’s age, therefore, the tissues of different age should be irradiated differently. That is why, secure and automated laser procedure is needed.

There requirements will be met in a new medical laser device which is being developed now in the laboratory of biophotonics (Institute of Laser and Information Technologies Problems, Russian Academy of Sciences) under the guidance of Emil Sobol and with support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research. A new device will be able to automatically measure the temperature of the cartilage and its surrounding tissues, to optimize parameters of laser impact depending on the patient’s specificity, and to discontinue irradiation when the required temperature is reached and the cartilage has acquired the necessary plasticity. According to the developers, they will be able to manufacture and test a pre-production model of the device in the clinic already in 2004. Then, the shape of cartilage – be that the nasal septum or intervertebral disks – can be improved quickly, efficiently and absolutely painlessly with the help of laser almost in any polyclinic.

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Sergey Komarov alfa

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