Dr Richard McMahon

Dr Richard McMahon

+44 (0) 1223 332655

Pain relief during laser skin treatments

Cooling the skin has been shown to be an effective method of pain relief during laser skin treatments, provide a safe and convenient alternative to conventional local or general anaesthesia. The concept is being exploited by CoolAnalgesia , a spin out company from the university.

CoolAnalgesia technology is realised through a patented cooling plate that is placed on the target treatment area: the laser is fired through an opening in the centre of the cooling plate. Fluid is circulated from the refrigeration unit by a variable speed pump to the cooling plate. Thermocouples fixed in the cooling plate, working through programmable controllers, ensure that the appropriate temperature of approximately -5°C is maintained to an accuracy of +/-1°C.

Challenging basic research issues concerned with optimising extraction of heat from the skin and with the design of suitable heat exchangers remain to be solved, however. Research in the department, conducted jointly with Professor Li-ping Xu of the Whittle laboratory, is leading to important advances in understanding. Through plastic surgeons and dermatologists involved in clinical trials (sponsored by CoolAnalgesia), these concepts can be evaluated, bringing safer and more effective pain relief for patients undergoing skin treatment.

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