Fractional photothermolysis induced by non-ablative fractional lasers (NAFLs) or ablative fractional lasers (AFLs) can remodel the skin, regenerate collagen, and remove tumor tissue. However, fractional laser treatments may result in severe side effects, and multiple treatments are required to achieve the expected outcome. Thus, the treatment outcome and downtime after fractional laser treatments are key issues to determine the following treatment strategy. In this study, an optical coherence tomography (OCT) system was implemented for in vivo studies of wound healing after NAFL and AFL treatments. According to the OCT scanning results, the laser-induced photothermolysis including volatilization and coagulation could be morphologically identified. To continue monitoring the wound healing process, the treated regions were scanned with OCT at different time points, and the en-face images at various tissue depths were extracted from three-dimensional OCT images. Furthermore, to quantitatively evaluate the morphological changes at different tissue depths during wound healing, an algorithm was developed to distinguish the backscattering properties of untreated and treated tissues. The results showed that the coagulation damage induced by the NAFLs could be rapidly healed in 6 days. In contrast, the tissue volatilization induced by AFLs required a longer recovery time of 14 days. In conclusion, this study establishes the feasibility of this methodology as a means of clinically monitoring treatment outcomes and wound healing after fractional laser treatments.
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