Shallow light penetration in tissue has been a technical barrier to the development of light-based methods for in vivo diagnosis and treatment of epithelial carcinomas. This problem can potentially be solved by utilizing minimally invasive probes to deliver light directly to target areas. To develop this solution, fiber optic microneedles capable of delivering light for either imaging or therapy were manufactured by tapering step-index silica-based optical fibers employing a melt-drawing process. Some of the microneedles were manufactured to have sharper tips by changing the heat source during the melt-drawing process. All of the microneedles were individually inserted into ex vivo pig skin samples to demonstrate the feasibility of their application in human tissues. The force on each microneedle was measured during insertion in order to determine the effects of sharper tips on the peak force and the steadiness of the increase in force. Skin penetration experiments showed that sharp fiber optic microneedles that are 3 mm long penetrate through 2 mm of ex vivo pig skin specimens. These sharp microneedles had a minimum average diameter of and a maximum tip diameter of . Flat microneedles, which had larger tip diameters, required a minimum average diameter of in order to penetrate through pig skin samples. Force versus displacement plots showed that a sharp tip on a fiber optic microneedle decreased the skin’s resistance during insertion. Also, the force acting on a sharp microneedle increased more steadily compared with a microneedle with a flat tip. However, many of the sharp microneedles sustained damage during skin penetration. Two designs that did not accrue damage were identified and will provide a basis of more robust microneedles. Developing resilient microneedles with smaller diameters will lead to transformative, novel modes of transdermal imaging and treatment that are less invasive and less painful for the patient.
Fiber Optic Microneedles for Transdermal Light Delivery: Ex Vivo Porcine Skin Penetration Experiments
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Kosoglu, M. A., Hood, R. L., Chen, Y., Xu, Y., Rylander, M. N., and Rylander, C. G. (September 3, 2010). "Fiber Optic Microneedles for Transdermal Light Delivery: Ex Vivo Porcine Skin Penetration Experiments." ASME. J Biomech Eng. September 2010; 132(9): 091014. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4002192
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