Fibre optics: Surgery by sunlight on live animals Academic Article uri icon


  • Even though the deployment of solar radiation for surgery1–3 must be restricted to clear-sky periods in sun-belt climates, its appeal lies in its potentially low cost compared with conventional laser fibre-optic treatments4. Here we show that interstitial fibre-optic solar surgery can be used effectively to kill tissue in live animals, with highly concentrated sunlight producing the same rapid, localized and extensive damage that is achieved in laser surgery. To our knowledge, this is the first time that intense incoherent light has been applied successfully in an interstitial medical procedure to kill a sizeable and prescribed extent of organ tissue photothermally. The key factor in most photothermal fibre-optic surgery is not the coherence or monochromaticity of the light, but attaining sufficiently high power density. Solar radiation is particularly effective because its average optical-penetration depth is of …

publication date

  • July 31, 2003

published in