On the Merits of Using Angled Fiber Tips in Office-based Laser Surgery of the Vocal Folds

Chan IA, d'Almeida JF, Chiluisa AJ, Carroll TL, Liu Y, Fichera L, SPIE Medical Imaging (2021).
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Office-based endoscopic laser surgery is an increasingly popular option for the treatment of many benign and pre- malignant tumors of the vocal folds. While these procedures have been shown to be generally safe and effective, recent clinical studies have revealed that there are a number of challenging locations inside the larynx where laser light cannot be easily delivered due to line-of-sight limitations. In this paper, we explore whether these challenges can be overcome through the use of side-firing laser fibers. Our study is conducted in simulation, using three-dimensional models of the human larynx generated from X-ray microtomography scans. Using computer graphics techniques (ray-casting), we simulate the application of laser pulses with different types of laser fibers and compare the total anatomical coverage attained by each fiber. We consider four fiber types: a traditional “forward-looking” fiber - not unlike the ones currently used in clinical practice - and three side-firing fibers that emit light at an angle of 45, 70, and 90 degrees, respectively. Results show that side-firing fibers enable a ∼70% increase in accessible anatomy compared to forward-looking fibers.