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1 July 2004 OCT analysis of microneedle and Er:YAG surface ablation for enhanced transdermal delivery of hyperosmotic agents for optical skin clearing
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The purpose of this study is to investigate the feasibility of using microneedles in comparison to Er:YAG skin surface laser ablation as a means to modify the epidermis of in-vitro hamster skin to facilitate delivery of topically applied hyper-osmotics such as glycerol into the skin to achieve optical skin clearing. This allows to temporarily reduce scattering of light in otherwise turbid tissues with potential applications pertaining to non-invasive optical imaging techniques such as optical coherence tomography (OCT) or therapeutic applications like laser blood vessel coagulation to treat port wine stains in skin. A portable, battery powered Er:YAG laser (Lasette) manufactured by Cell Robotics Inc. was used to produce holes in the stratum corneum and epidermis using individual 400 μs pulses causing localized ablation. Following each laser pulse the tissue was mechanically translated by 1 mm before another pulse was delivered. As an alternative method to the use of an expensive laser source requiring some kind of light scanning mechanism to treat larger skin areas efficiently, microneedles were investigated. They do not require an energy supply, are also pain-free and can be manufactured into arrays allowing treatment of larger skin areas. A single application forms micron scale holes in the stratum corneum through which topically applied skin clearing agents such as glycerol can penetrate into the tissue. In this feasibility study individual microneedles were used to manually induce holes in the skin each spaced approximately 1 mm apart from the other. Upon such epidermal modification by either technique, glycerol was then applied to the tissue surface and amplitude OCT measurements monitored changes of the optical properties of the tissue over time. Due to the geometry of the microneedle used in this study the cross sectional area of each hole in the epidermis was about 68% smaller than the comparable ablation site caused by an individual laser pulse. Results indicate enhanced skin clearing rates due to the induced holes in the stratum corneum in both cases by a factor of 5 to 8. Due to the larger area of laser ablation in comparison to the holes caused by microneedles, overall skin clearing rates are higher with the laser. However, localized data analysis near holes produced by either technique yields comparable results which show an increase in the clearing rate of up to 10 to 13 times over intact skin without any holes.
© (2004) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Oliver F. Stumpp, A. J. Welch, Harvinder S. Gill, and Mark R. Prausnitz "OCT analysis of microneedle and Er:YAG surface ablation for enhanced transdermal delivery of hyperosmotic agents for optical skin clearing", Proc. SPIE 5319, Laser Interaction with Tissue and Cells XV, (1 July 2004);

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