A model to study thermal energy delivery to the choroid: A comparison of surgical devices

Stephen A. Lobue, Prashant Tailor, Jarel K. Gandhi, Paul Loftness, Timothy W. Olsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: We measure and compare surgical devices using an ex vivo, temperature-controlled, choroidal incision model during thermal energy transfer with a high-resolution infrared camera. Methods: Ex vivo porcine choroidal tissue specimens (n = 516) were isolated and placed on a temperature-regulated (37∘C) perfusion platform. We tested the pulsed electron avalanche knife (PEAK), micropulse laser (MpL), continuous laser (CL), and bipolar cautery (BpC) at three energy settings (11 [low], 45 [medium], and 134 [high] mJ/mm). Each device was clamped to a stationary mechanical arm. Movement of tissue specimens beneath the surgical device was achieved using a stepping motor-driven x-y table. An infrared video camera measured orthogonal temperature variation in the surrounding tissue. Results: Increased power resulted in greater lateral thermal spread using all modalities (P < 0.001). Mean (standard deviation) lateral thermal spread at low energy was smallest for the MpL at 0.0 (0.01) mm (P < 0.001), whereas BpC had the least collateral tissue damage at medium and high energies (0.02 [0.08] and 0.34 [0.22] mm, respectively; P < 0.001). Fluidics of the ex vivo system may limit thermal spread. The PEAK had the greatest thermal spread across all energy groups (P < 0.001), with clinically relevant variation between disposable blades. Conclusions: Our ex vivo model enabled direct comparison of threshold thermal tissue injury across four devices. MpL and BpC showed the least thermal damage. PEAK had a higher variation in energy delivery, but also has the advantage of more effective tissue cutting. Translational Relevance: Our ex vivo surgical device analysis provides thermal tissue injury predictions for choroidal surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number39
JournalTranslational Vision Science and Technology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Choroid
  • Lateral thermal spread
  • Micropulse laser
  • PEAK
  • Retinal pigment epithelium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Ophthalmology


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