Continuous-wave vs. pulsed infrared laser stimulation of the rat prostate cavernous nerves

Serhat Tozburun, Christopher M. Cilip, Gwen A. Lagoda, Arthur L. Burnett, Nathaniel M. Fried

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Optical nerve stimulation has recently been developed as an alternative to electrical nerve stimulation. However, recent studies have focused primarily on pulsed delivery of the laser radiation and at relatively low pulse rates. The objective of this study is to demonstrate faster optical stimulation of the prostate cavernous nerves using continuouswave (CW) infrared laser radiation, for potential diagnostic applications. A Thulium fiber laser (λ = 1870 nm) was used for non-contact optical stimulation of the rat prostate cavernous nerves, in vivo. Optical nerve stimulation, as measured by an intracavernous pressure (ICP) response in the penis, was achieved with the laser operating in either CW mode, or with a 5-ms pulse duration at 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 100 Hz. Successful optical stimulation was observed to be primarily dependent on a threshold nerve temperature (42-45°C), not an incident fluence, as previously reported. CW optical nerve stimulation provides a significantly faster ICP response time using a laser with lower power output than pulsed stimulation. CW optical nerve stimulation may therefore represent an alternative mode of stimulation for intra-operative diagnostic applications where a rapid response is critical, such as identification of the cavernous nerves during prostate cancer surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics VII
StatePublished - Apr 12 2011
EventPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics VII - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 22 2011Jan 24 2011

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics VII
CountryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • cavernous nerve
  • laser
  • optical stimulation
  • prostate
  • thulium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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