Incendiary potential of the flash-lamp pumped 585-nm tunable dye laser

R. H. Epstein, R. R. Brummett, G. P. Lask

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The recently introduced pulsed flash-lamp pumped tunable dye laser is used to treat cutaneous port-wine stains. In our practice, infants and children receive general anesthesia for these brief, yet painful, treatments. Because the flammability of this laser has not been reported and because we administer supplemental oxygen and nitrous oxide, we analyzed the incendiary potential of this laser by measuring the flammability of gauze and Telfa strips, hair, clear plastic face masks and tracheal tubes, and green nasal cannulae in 21%-100% oxygen and in nitrous oxide at laser energies between 6.0 and 10.0 J/cm2. (Our clinical range is 6.0-7.0 J/cm2). In room air, gauze, Telfa, masks, and tubes did not ignite; only gauze ignited at high energy in 100% oxygen. Hair ignited in room air only when struck repeatedly at high energy, but easily ignited in 100% oxygen. Wetting hair with saline prevented ignition in room air and decreased flammability in supplemental oxygen. Green nasal cannulae prongs were extremely flammable in oxygen. Caution should be taken when using supplemental oxygen/nitrous oxide during treatment with the tunable dye laser.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-175
Number of pages5
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Anesthetic techniques, lasers - dye
  • Surgery, lasers - dye

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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