In the past few years, arthroscopic laser surgery has been performed with several laser sources including carbon dioxide, Nd:YAG, and argon lasers.1 The excimer laser at 248 nm has also been tried in vitro and resulted in incisions with little residual thermal damage.2 However, they have not been applied arthroscopically because of the lack of proper fiber optic delivery systems. Recently, the Er. YAG laser operating at 2940 nm was reported to be capable of efficient tissue ablation with very shallow damage zones.3–4 This is mainly a result of the peak water absorption at the 2940-nm wavelength of Er:YAG. In the current study, the effect of Er:YAG laser energy on tissues in bovine knee structures is investigated in vitro. The ablation rates for meniscus, cartilage, tendon, and bone were measured at various radiant exposures. Two repetition rates of 4 and 10 Hz were employed in this study to reveal possible effects of the repetition rate on Er: Y AG tissue ablation.

© 1990 Optical Society of America

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