A dorsal skin flap model for microcirculatory studies has been modified for “in vivo” studies of laser-tissue interaction with microcirculation. An experimental apparatus has been built implementing a laser delivery system, video microscopy during irradiation, and thermal recordings. This model has been used to study irradiation effects on microcirculation using the argon laser (488 and 514.5 nm) and the argon pumped dye laser at 577 nm. The results include: measurements of the optical properties of the model; dosimetry measurements for the production of embolized and stationary coaguli in arterioles and venules; and focal vessel disappearance of venules irradiated with the argon or the argon pumped dye laser at 577 nm; a method to determine light attenuation in the model; a unique method for measurements of blood flow velocity in arterioles and venules and measurements obtained with this method; measurements of transient and steady state temperatures during irradiation and a study of laser induced photorelaxation phenomena in venules.

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