Tags: laser | needle | pain | free

Laser 'Needle' Offers Pain-free Shots

Monday, 17 Sep 2012 09:56 AM




Hate needle shots? South Korean engineers have developed a promising new hypodermic needle-free injection technique – powered by lasers – that could take the pain out of injections, vaccines and intravenous drug treatments.
The new system, created by mechanical and aerospace engineers at Seoul National University in South Korea, uses lasers to blast microscopic jets of drugs into the skin – a technique that could make getting a shot as painless as being hit with a puff of air.
"The laser-driven microjet injector can precisely control dose and the depth of drug penetration underneath the skin,” said Jack Yoh, a university engineering professor who developed the device and is working with a company to produce the first low-cost injectors for clinical use.
"In the immediate future, this technology could be most easily adopted to situations where small doses of drugs are injected at multiple sites," he said. "Further work would be necessary to adopt it for scenarios like mass vaccine injections for children."
In a report published in the journal Optics Letters, Yoh described the new device and its potential applications.
He said the system uses a so-called “Er:Yag” laser (short for erbium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet) to propel a tiny, precise stream of medicine with just the right amount of force. The laser – now used by dermatologists for facial treatments – is combined with a small adaptor that contains the drug to be delivered, in liquid form, plus a chamber containing water that acts as a "driving" fluid. Each laser pulse, which lasts 250 millionths of a second, forces a narrow jet – about the width of a human hair – of medicine into the skin.
Because of the narrowness and quickness of the jet, it causes little or no pain, Yoh said.
Although other research groups have developed similar injectors, "they are mechanically driven," using piston-like devices to force drugs into the skin, Yoh said.

© HealthDay

   
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South Korean engineers have developed a new needle-free injection technique powered by lasers.
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