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Zhang, Yaokun; Pfeiffer, Tom; Weller, Marcel; Wieser, Wolfgang; Huber, Robert; Raczkowsky, Jörg; Schipper, Jörg; Worn, Heinz und Klenzner, Thomas (2014): Optical Coherence Tomography Guided Laser Cochleostomy: Towards the Accuracy on Tens of Micrometer Scale. In: Biomed Research International, Vol. 2014, 251814




Lasers have been proven to be precise tools for bone ablation. Applying no mechanical stress to the patient, they are potentially very suitable for microsurgery on fragile structures such as the inner ear. However, it remains challenging to control the laser-bone ablation without injuring embedded soft tissue. In this work, we demonstrate a closed-loop control of a short-pulsed CO2 laser to perform laser cochleostomy under the monitoring of an optical coherence tomography (OCT) system. A foresighted detection of the bone-endosteum-perilymph boundary several hundred micrometers before its exposure has been realized. Position and duration of the laser pulses are planned based on the residual bone thickness distribution. OCT itself is also used as a highly accurate tracking system for motion compensation between the target area and the optics. During ex vivo experimental evaluation on fresh porcine cochleae, the ablation process terminated automatically when the thickness of the residual tissue layer uniformly reached a predefined value. The shape of the resulting channel bottom converged to the natural curvature of the endosteal layer without injuring the critical structure. Preliminary measurements in OCT scans indicated that the mean absolute accuracy of the shape approximation was only around 20 mu m.