Influence of skin type and laser wavelength on laser-evoked potentials

Ken Steffen Frahm*, Sabata Gervasio, Federico Arguissain, André Mouraux


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Background: Infrared laser stimulation is a valuable tool in pain research, its primary application being the recording of laser-evoked brain potentials (LEPs). Different types of laser stimulators, varying in their skin penetrance, are likely to have a large influence on the LEPs, when stimulating different skin types. The aim of this study was to investigate how LEPs depend on laser type and skin location. Methods: Two different laser stimulators (CO 2 and Nd:YAP) were used to compare LEPs in healthy subjects. Stimuli were delivered to the hand dorsum and palm to investigate the effects of skin type on the evoked responses. Stimulus-evoked brain responses were recorded using EEG and perceived intensity ratings were recorded. Computational modelling was used to investigate the observed differences. Results: LEPs evoked by stimulation of the hairy skin were similar between CO 2 and Nd:YAP stimulation. In contrast, LEPs elicited from the palm were markedly different and barely present for CO 2 stimulation. There was a significant interaction between laser type and skin type (RM-ANOVA, p < 0.05) likely due to smaller CO 2 LEPs in the palm. CO 2 stimuli to the palm also elicited significantly lower perceived intensities. The computational model showed that the observed differences were explainable by the laser absorption characteristics and skin thickness affecting the temperature profile at the dermo-epidermal junction (DEJ). Conclusions: This study shows that LEP elicitation depends on the combination of laser penetrance and skin type. Low penetrance stimuli, from a CO 2 laser, elicited significantly lower LEPs and perceived intensities in the palm. Significance: This study showed that the elicitation of laser-evoked potentials in healthy humans greatly depends on the combination of laser stimulator type and skin type. It was shown that high penetrance laser stimuli are capable of eliciting responses in both hairy and glabrous skin, whereas low penetrance stimuli barely elicited responses from the glabrous skin. Computational modelling was used to demonstrate that the results could be fully explained by the combination of laser type and skin thickness.

TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Pain
Udgave nummer10
Sider (fra-til)1226-1238
Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2023


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