Solid-State Erbium Laser Surgical Cutting Probe


The present system developed by Vanderbilt researchers provides a combination of a base laser pump connected to a laser surgical probe via a connection assembly. The surgical probe has a disposable tip wherein

the Er:YAG lasing occurs. This system is useful in laser surgeries involving high precision and appropriate power levels. In particular, intraocular surgeries could benefit from the use of such a system.


Previous work has established that Er:YAG laser at 2.94 micrometer wavelength is the best for coupling with water-laden tissue. Thus, for precise, delicate surgery, e.g., intra-ocular surgery, it is desireable to use this wavelength. However, its applicability has thus far been limited by the fiber delivery systems. In the present technology this limitation has been overcome by physically decoupling the energy delivery unit (base unit) and

the lasing head (probe). The two units are connected by an appropriate, flexible assembly. The probe tip is made disposable, and the lasing head lies immediately to its posterior.

Vanderbilt currently has a prototype system and would like to discuss the results obtained to date with a potential commercialization partner.

Competitive Analysis

There does not appear to be any other system currently available that addresses the demands of laser probes for high precision surgery in such an elegant fashion.

Applications & Advantages

This technology uses commercially available components in a unique manner that permits the required combination of:

• Correct laser wavelength

• Desired power level

• Flexibility of the hand-held probe

• Low collateral tissue damage

Development Plan

Vanderbilt seeks a commercial partner for transitioning this technology from the lab to the marketplace, perhaps initially focusing on the retinal surgery market. Ideally, the partner would be one familiar with the medical device marketplace and willing to seek joint funding for development. It is also anticipated that this technology would be applicable for dermal resurfacing applications.

Intellectual Property


Two issued U.S. patents: 6,213,998

and 6,458,120
Jin-Hui ShenKaren JoosDerek Abbott
Licensing manager: 
Taylor Jordan

Featured Video

Vanderbilt Patent Activity

View Vanderbilt University Patents

CTTC on Twitter