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Experience with the Pascal photocoagulator: An analysis of over 1200 laser procedures with regard to parameter refinement

Keywords: Barrage photocoagulation , focal photocoagulation , laser power , laser spot size , laser treatment duration , panretinal photocoagulation , pascal photocoagulation

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Aim: To systematically refine and recommend parameter settings of spot size, power, and treatment duration using the Pascal photocoagulator, a multi-spot, semi-automated, short-duration laser system. Materials and Methods: A retrospective consecutive series with 752 Caucasian eyes and 1242 laser procedures over two years were grouped into, (1) 374 macular focal / grid photocoagulation (FP), (2), 666 panretinal photocoagulation (PRP), and (3) 202 barrage photocoagulation (BP). Parameters for power, duration, spot number, and spot size were recorded for every group. Results: Power parameters for all groups showed a non-gaussian distribution; FP group, median 190 mW, range 100 - 950 mW, and PRP group, median 800 mW, range 100 - 2000 mW. On subgroup comparison, for similar spot size, as treatment duration decreased, the power required increased, albeit in a much lesser proportion than that given by energy = power x time. Most frequently used patterns were single spot (89% of cases) in FP, 5 Χ 5 box (72%) in PRP, and 2 Χ 2 box (78%) in BP. Spot diameters as high as ≈ 700 μm on retina were given in the PRP group. Single session PRP was attempted in six eyes with a median spot count of 3500. Conclusion: Overall, due to the small duration of its pulse, the Pascal photocoagulator tends to use higher powers, although much lower cumulative energies, than those used in a conventional laser. The consequent lesser heat dissipation, especially lateral, can allow one to use relatively larger spot sizes and give more closely spaced burns, without incurring significant side effects.


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