Study evaluates the effects of laser tissue welding for spina bifida repair

March 7, 2017
Researchers are collaborating to evaluate the effects of laser tissue welding on the spinal cord and skin to potentially repair spina bifida.

A team of researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX), IBEX (Logan, UT), and Laser Tissue Welding Inc. (also in Houston) is collaborating to evaluate the effects of laser tissue welding on the spinal cord and skin to potentially repair spina bifida, a birth defect where there is incomplete closure of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord. The defect is associated with hydrocephalus (excessive accumulation of fluid on the brain), developmental delay, lifelong disability, and death.

Related: Light-activated neurons control paralyzed muscles

In a 30-day study of simulated spina bifida repair in rabbits, the researchers were interested to see if applying near-infrared (810 nm) laser energy to coagulate an indocyanine green (ICG)-tagged albumin compound would damage the underlying skin and/or spinal cord tissue. The researchers plan to use this substance for sealing incision lines in fetal surgical spina bifida repair procedures.

One of the most crucial aspects of a fetal repair is a watertight seal once the repair is complete. "Laser tissue welding is a promising technology that may allow a temporary seal over healing wounds that allows enough time for the regeneration of the skin underneath the albumin layer," explains Michael Belfort, MD, chairman and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine, obstetrician/gynecologist-in-chief of Texas Children's Pavilion for Women, and first author of a paper describing the work. "By sealing off the incision line with a natural substance that disintegrates over time, we feel that the suture line may heal without developing any leaks which would compromise the repair," he says.

The first step in this experimental process examined whether the heat from the laser (required to activate the liquid albumin and turn it into a solid) would damage the skin or spinal tissue under the skin. The research team chose a rabbit model because it is an accepted and cost-efficient animal model.

Now that the researchers know that laser energy is unlikely to damage spinal cord tissue, Belfort and his colleagues are planning on a fetal sheep experiment.

Full details of the work appear in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology; for more information, please visit

About the Author

BioOptics World Editors

We edited the content of this article, which was contributed by outside sources, to fit our style and substance requirements. (Editor’s Note: BioOptics World has folded as a brand and is now part of Laser Focus World, effective in 2022.)

Sponsored Recommendations

Request a free Micro 3D Printed sample part

April 11, 2024
The best way to understand the part quality we can achieve is by seeing it first-hand. Request a free 3D printed high-precision sample part.

How to Tune Servo Systems: The Basics

April 10, 2024
Learn how to tune a servo system using frequency-based tools to meet system specifications by watching our webinar!

Motion Scan and Data Collection Methods for Electro-Optic System Testing

April 10, 2024
Learn how different scanning patterns and approaches can be used in measuring an electro-optic sensor performance, by reading our whitepaper here!

How Precision Motion Systems are Shaping the Future of Semiconductor Manufacturing

March 28, 2024
This article highlights the pivotal role precision motion systems play in supporting the latest semiconductor manufacturing trends.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Laser Focus World, create an account today!