(19)
(11)EP 3 653 154 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
20.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/21

(21)Application number: 18000750.2

(22)Date of filing:  20.09.2018
(51)Int. Cl.: 
A61B 18/22  (2006.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(71)Applicant: SIA Light Guide Optics International
5316 Livani (LV)

(72)Inventors:
  • DZERINS, Oskars
    LV 4847 (LV)
  • PFAFRODS, Daumants
    LV 5315 (LV)

(74)Representative: Von Rohr Patentanwälte Partnerschaft mbB 
Rüttenscheider Straße 62
45130 Essen
45130 Essen (DE)

  


(54)DEVICE FOR TREATMENT OF BODY TISSUE


(57) A device for treatment of body tissue by means of a light diffuser (13) circumferentially and endoluminally irradiating said tissue by laser light energy, wherein said diffuser is connected at its proximal end to a source of laser light energy via a flexible wave guide comprising a fiber optic core (1) covered by an optical cladding (2) and a protective sheath (14). The distal end of the wave guide has its protective sheath at least partially removed and is provided with grooves adapted to refract and/or reflect the light propagating within the core in generally radial directions. A cap (7) transparent to the laser light encloses the distal end of the core. The grooves comprise at least two spiral grooves (4, 5) extending through said optical cladding into said core, successive grooves of the respective spiral grooves are alternating along the longitudinally extending outer surface of the core and its optical cladding.




Description


[0001] This invention relates to a device for treatment of body tissue by means of a laser light diffuser circumferentially and endoluminally irradiating said tissue by laser light, said diffuser being connected at its proximal end to a source of laser light energy via a flexible wave guide comprising a fiber optic core covered by an optical cladding having a refractive index smaller than that of the core, and a protective sheath, the distal end of the wave guide having its protective sheath at least partially removed and being provided with grooves adapted to refract the light propagating within the fiber optic core in generally radial directions, a cap transparent to the laser light enclosing the distal end of the core in a liquid tight manner.

[0002] In the medical field, diffusers are generally used on the distal end of the wave guide as a means for scattering and/or redirecting the optical power in an even 360-degree cylindrical output along the length of the distal end of core of the wave guide. This is for instance facilitated by roughening the core or by machining grooves or threads into the glass of the fiber core deep enough to extract and scatter and/or redirect light travelling through the fiber core along the longitudinal axis thereof. The light emerging from the grooves irradiates an area of the tissue surrounding the diffuser with the optical power, making it useful for applications such as photodynamic therapy or coagulation and/or ablation of tissue, vessels or hollow organs. To protect the distal end of the core which has its protective sheath removed, this distal end is conventionally surrounded and covered by a cap transparent to the laser light emitted by the core.

[0003] In the field of illumination, it is known since long time to direct light from point light sources into one or both ends of a cylindrical rod made of refractive material and to redirect the light propagating within the rod in radial and circumferential directions of the rod by cutting either circular or spiral grooves into the outer surface of the rod as shown in FR 1 325 014. The light travelling within the rod exits therefrom at said grooves. If light is directed into the rod from only one end thereof, it is possible to terminate the other end by a conical reflector. In order to obtain a uniform radiation distribution over the length of the rod, it is further known to use deeper groves at positions of the rod more distant from the light sources to improve the uniform radiation distribution.

[0004] The same principle also is used in the medical field as exemplified in an embodiment of a laser light diffuser shown in Fig. 6 of EP 0598 984 A1. In this embodiment, angled grooves are cut into the core of a wave guide under an angle to the longitudinal axis thereof. Further, this embodiment is provided with a conical reflector at the distal end of the core, and the section of the core comprising the groove as well as the conical reflector is enclosed in a cap transparent to the laser light.

[0005] The design of such diffusers varies depending on the desired length of the light emitting zone and light uniformity required as well as the available laser light energy.

[0006] The object of the present invention is to provide a device for treatment of body tissue by means of a laser light diffuser which has an improved efficiency and uniformity of the circumferential and endoluminal light emitted thereby and reaching the tissue treated thereby.

[0007] These objects are accomplished by a device for treatment of body tissue by means of a laser light diffuser circumferentially and endoluminally irradiating said tissue by laser light. The diffuser is connected at its proximal end to a source of laser light energy via a flexible wave guide comprising a fiber optic core covered by an optical cladding having a refractive index smaller that of the core, and a protective sheath. The distal end of the wave guide has its protective sheath at least partially removed to bare the core and its optical cladding and is provided with grooves adapted to refract the light propagating within the fiber optic core in generally radial directions. A cap transparent to the laser light encloses the distal end of the core and optical cladding in a fluid tight manner to protect the bared core and its optical cladding.

[0008] The source of laser light may be a conventional laser source or a diode laser source.

[0009] In order to maximize the light output density, this spatial distance of grooves in longitudinal direction must be minimized. This, however, would lead to fairly rapid change in depth of the grooves and fairly steep flange angles and a groove surface which is oriented almost perpendicular to the direction of light propagation in the optical fiber. The latter would give rise to undesired back-scattering of the laser light into the optical fiber and eventually back into the source.

[0010] According to the present invention, an optimization of light output density is obtained by providing second or more additional spiral grooves along the longitudinal axis of the optical fiber, resulting in the desired more uniform and dense radiation along the longitudinal axis of the core, said grooves extending through said optical cladding into said core, successive grooves of the respective spiral grooves are alternating along the longitudinally extending outer surface of the core and its optical cladding.

[0011] Preferably, the additional second or more spiral grooves alternate along the longitudinal axis of the core with the first spiral grooves on the outer surface of the core and its optical cladding, resulting in a more uniform and dense distribution of the light emitted by the grooves, so that in spite of the flank angle of individual grooves required for refracting the light propagating within the fiber optic core in generally radial directions, the laser light output may be concentrated on a shorter length of the bared distal end of the fiber core and its optical cladding.

[0012] With embodiments wherein two or more spiral grooves are provided, the starting points of the spiral grooves are preferably angularly offset in the circumferential direction of the core by 360 degrees divided by the number of grooves in the circumferential direction of the core.

[0013] According to one embodiment, the two or more spiral grooves have substantially the same pitch angle value in the same direction relative to the longitudinal axis of the core such that the groove extend parallel to one another.

[0014] According to a further embodiment, the two or more spiral grooves have substantially the same pitch angle value, but in opposite directions, such that successive grooves of respective pairs of the spiral grooves cross each other.

[0015] Preferably, the pitch angle value of the spiral grooves relative to the longitudinal axis of the core is selected to be about 60°.

[0016] The depth of the grooves increases preferably in the direction to the distal end of the core to obtain a more uniform light distribution.

[0017] To counter the reduced mechanical stability caused by the higher number of spiral grooves, the inner diameter of the cap is preferably about the same as the outer diameter of the core inclusive its optical cladding, and the cladding is fused at least in some of the regions between said grooves to the inner diameter to the cap as well.

[0018] Preferably, a short longitudinal length of the bared optical cladding of the core preceding and/or following the grooved region is also fused to the cladding of the cap.

[0019] The distal end of the core may be terminated by a reflector which either has a conical shape, the cone angle of the reflecting cone being about 60 degrees for lateral reflection and about 68 to 90 degrees for reflection back into the section of the core provided with the grooves.

[0020] The inner surface of the bore of the cap may be provided with an anti-reflective coating.

[0021] The protective sheath may comprise at least one buffer layer adjacent to the optical cladding of the core and an outer sheath, and the proximal end of the bore of the cap is provided with a section having an increased inner diameter corresponding to the outer diameter of the buffer layer after removal of a short section of the outer sheath therefrom, and the section having the increased inner diameter at the proximal end of the cap is glued to the buffer layer, the glue additionally providing a smooth transition between the outer diameter of the cap and that of the outer sheath, wherein both the outer diameter of the cap or that of the protective sheath may represent the smaller outer diameter.

[0022] Preferred embodiments of the device according to the present invention are shown in the enclosed drawing, wherein:
Figure 1
shows a first embodiment of the diffuser device of the present invention in a cross sectional view;
Figure 2
shows a detail marked in Figure 1 with "A";
Figure 3
shows a non limiting detail of the grooved section "A" and the method of cutting the grooves;
Figure 4
shows a second embodiment of the diffuser device of the present invention in a cross sectional view;
Figure 5
shows a detail marked in Figure 4 with "A".


[0023] In Figure 1. a first embodiment of an elongated diffuser device 13 is shown which is connected at its proximal end via a wave guide 12 to a source 10 of laser light. The wave guide 12 is interrupted by broken lines to indicate that it may have any length desired for a specific application.

[0024] The wave guide 12 comprises in a conventional manner an optical fiber core 1 and an optical cladding 2 only visible in Figure 2, which has a refractive index smaller than that of the core so that light radiated by the source 10 into the core 1 may be transferred via the wave guide 12 with a minimum of losses to the diffuser device 13. The optical cladding 2 of the core 1 is covered by an inner or buffer layer 3 (for example "hard clad") and at least one outer layer 14 of the protective sheath.

[0025] The diffuser device 13 has an active zone marked with "A" in Figure 1 and shown in more detail in Figure 2. In this zone, the buffer layer 3 and any of the outer layers 14 of the protective sheath are removed, leaving only the optical fiber core 1 and its optical cladding 2. This active zone is adapted to redirect the light propagating along the longitudinal axis of the wave guide in substantially radial directions.

[0026] At least this active zone "A" is enclosed in a cap 7 transparent to the laser light and having an inner diameter substantially corresponding to the outer diameter of the core 1 and its cladding 2.

[0027] As may especially be seen from the embodiment shown in Figures 1 to 3, within the active zone "A", the optical core 1 and its cladding 2 comprise two spiral grooves 4, 5 starting at respective offset starting points around the circumference of the optical core 1 and its cladding 2. These grooves 4, 5 are cut through the cladding 2 and into the outer circumference of the core 1. The number of grooves of course is not limited to two grooves, which are only mentioned for explanatory purposes. In general, the starting points of the spiral grooves 4, 5 are preferably angularly offset in the circumferential direction of the core by 360 degrees divided by the number of grooves in the circumferential direction of the core 1.

[0028] As may be seen from Figure 2, the offset starting points of the individual spiral grooves result in the grooves 4, 5 alternating along the length of the outer circumference of the core 1 and its optical cladding 2.

[0029] At least some of the circumferential parts of the core 1 and/or the cladding 2 which extend between the grooves 4, 5 and short sections of the core and cladding at both ends of the grooved section along the length of the cap 7 are fused to the inner diameter of the cap 7 thereby resulting in a reliable support for the core 1 and cladding 2 within the active zone "A".

[0030] The grooves 4, 5 at the outer surface of the core 1 and its cladding 2 have a predetermined shape depending on the intended direction and concentration of the radial radiation caused by the grooves, which result in a re-direction by reflection of the light passing through the core of the wave guide into a radial direction and/or by refraction of this light at the interfaces formed between the grooves 4, 5 and the inner diameter of the cap 7.

[0031] The distal end of the core 1 and cladding 2 is terminated by a conical reflector 6 thereby avoiding any axial emissions of the light energy not dissipated by the individual grooves 4, 5 on the first pass through the section of the core 1 provided with the grooves 4, 5. The cone angle of this reflector 6 is about 60 degrees for lateral reflection of this light energy, or may be about 68 to 90 degrees for reflection of this light energy back into the section of the core 1 provided with the grooves 4, 5.

[0032] At its proximal end, the inner bore of the cap 7 has an increased inner diameter portion 8 slightly larger than the outer diameter of the buffer layer 3 of the protective sheath 14. Small gaps 11, 15 are left between the distal end of the increased diameter portion 8 and the distal end of the buffer layer 3 and between the distal end of the outer layer 14 of the protective sheath and the proximal end of the cap 7, respectively. These gaps are filled with glue 9 which also penetrates into the space between the outer circumference of the buffer layer 3 and the inner diameter of the cap, and may penetrate over a short distance into the space between the outer diameter of the cladding 2 not fused to the cap 7 and the inner diameter of the cap 7, thereby mechanically securing the cap 7 in a reliable and fluid tight manner to the buffer layer 3 of the protective sheath and to the outer layer 14 thereof.

[0033] The penetration of the glue 9 into the space between the buffer layer 3 and the increased diameter portion 8 as well as between any portions of the core (1) and its optical cladding 2 not fused to the inner diameter of the cap 7 is favoured by the the decreased pressure resulting from the cooling of the air or other gaseous medium in the cap 7 after fusing the active zone to the inner diameter, or by other means as set out below.

[0034] In this manner and in addition to the fusing of part of the cladding 2 of the active zone "A" to the inner diameter of the cap 7, an increased stability of the device 13 is obtained.

[0035] The glue 9 may also extend over the outer layer 14 of the protective sheath as shown in Figure 1 thereby mitigating any step or any difference between the outer diameters of the cap 7 and of the outer diameter of the outer layer 14 of the protective sheath.

[0036] In Figure 3, the part of the active region "A" in Figure 1 is shown in more detail. As may be seen from Figure 3, the flank or pitch angle of the grooves is preferably about 60 degrees and is produced by rotating preferably the wave guide 12 and the core 1 and the optical cladding 2 thereof and subjecting this active portion "A" to a laser beam 20, preferably of a CO2-laser beam, under an angle of about 70 degrees to the longitudinal axis 16 of the core thereby cutting the grooves 4. 5 into the outer surface of the optical cladding 2 and into the core 1 as shown in Figure 3.

[0037] During the rotation of the core, the laser beam 20 is moved continuously along the length of the active zone in a synchronized manner with the rotation thereof, either by movement of the laser beam and/or wave the wave guide 12 and the core 1 and the optical cladding 2 thereof.

[0038] Further, the power of the laser beam 20 during its movement from the proximal end to the distal end of the core 1 and/or the duration of exposure of the the core 1 and the optical cladding 2 to the laser beam 20 may be increased such that the depth of the grooves 4, 5 increases towards the distal end of the active zone.

[0039] The two grooves 4, 5 or any additional grooves are preferably cut in separate steps one after the other.

[0040] It is of course also possible to hold the optical core 1 stationary and to rotate a device producing the laser beam 20 or a suitable set of optical mirrors and beam deflection equipment around the core. Further, the laser beam may be directed by a suitable set of optical mirrors and beam deflection equipment onto the optical cladding 2 of the core.

[0041] Instead of using a laser beam, also a plasma beam may be used for cutting the grooves 4, 5.

[0042] On heating the cap 7 and fusing the optical cladding 2 to the inner diameter of the cap 7, the air or other medium within the cap 7 expands due to the high temperature and leaves the cap, and after fusing, the glue 9 is applied and is partially sucked into the gaps mentioned above on cooling down the device and thereby causing an lower pressure within the cap 7. An other method for applying the glue shall be explained below.

[0043] The embodiment of the device shown in Figures 4 and 5 is similar to the embodiment shown in Figures 1 to 3, but differs therefrom by the fact that the two or more spiral grooves 40, 50 have substantially the same pitch angle value, but extend in opposite directions, such that successive grooves of respective pairs of the spiral grooves cross each other.

[0044] A presently preferred, but not limiting, method for producing device described above may include the following steps:
  1. 1. Removing the protective sheath from a distal end of the wave guide longer than the length of the section of the core 1 and its cladding to be provided with the grooves 4, 5, and removing a short length of the outer layer 14 of the protective sheath, the short length substantially corresponding to the length of the increased diameter portion at the proximal end of the cap 7.
  2. 2. Providing the reflector 6 at the distal end of the bared core 1 and its cladding 2.
  3. 3. Forming the grooves 4, 5 by cutting them through the optical cladding 2 into the core 1 by means of a CO2 laser beam 20 or a plasma beam and rotating the core 1 and its optical cladding 2 around its longitudinal axis 16 relative to the laser beam 20 and axially moving the laser beam and/or the wave guide 12 and the core 1 and the optical cladding 2 thereof along the longitudinal axis of the core in a synchronized manner with the rotation of the core.
  4. 4. Sliding the cap 7 over the section of the core 1 and optical cladding 2 and a onto a short length of the buffer layer 3 from which the outer layer 14 of the protective sheath was removed.
  5. 5. Applying a vacuum to the still open end of the cap 7 and heating the device 13 at the active region "A" by such that the cap 7 partially collapses and is fused to the optical cladding 2 and the core between the grooves and a short length at the front and end of the active zone "A".
  6. 6. Inserting the device 13 comprising the cap 7 with the distal end of the wave guide contained therein through an annular seal at the top of a vacuum tight container having a glue filled flask at the bottom thereof and applying at least a partial vacuum within the container.
  7. 7. Introducing the device 13 up to beyond the distal end of the cap 7 into the glue filled flask.
  8. 8. Releasing the vacuum from the container so that the glue from the flask is sucked into any gap between the cap 7, the buffer layer and the unfused proximal end of the core 1 and its cladding 2.
  9. 9. Shaping the glue 9 bridging the proximal end of the cap 7 and the outer layer 14 of the protective sheath and removing any glue still adhering to the outer surface of the cap 7.



Claims

1. A device for treatment of body tissue by means of a light diffuser (13) circumferentially and endoluminally irradiating said tissue by laser light energy, said diffuser (13) being connected at its proximal end to a source (10) of laser light energy via a flexible wave guide (12) comprising a fiber optic core (1) covered by an optical cladding (2) having a refractive index smaller than that of the core (1), and a protective sheath (14), the distal end of the wave guide (12) having its protective sheath (3,14) at least partially removed to bare the core (1) and its optical cladding (2) and being provided with grooves (4, 5) adapted to refract and/or reflect the light propagating within the core (1) and its optical cladding (2) in generally radial directions, a cap (7) transparent to the laser light enclosing the distal end of the core (1) and its optical cladding (2) in a fluid tight manner, characterized in that said grooves (4, 5) comprise at least two spiral grooves (4, 5), said grooves (4, 5) extending through said optical cladding (2) into said core (1), successive grooves (4, 5) of the respective spiral grooves are alternating along the longitudinally extending outer surface of the core (1) and its optical cladding (2).
 
2. The device of claim 1, characterized in that the starting points of said spiral grooves (4, 5) being angularly offset in the circumferential direction of the core (1) by 360 degrees divided by the number of grooves.
 
3. The device of claim 1 or 2, characterized in that the two or more spiral grooves have substantially the same pitch angle value relative to the longitudinal axis of the core and extend in the same direction.
 
4. The device of claim 1 or 2, characterized in that the two or more spiral grooves have substantially the same pitch angle value, but extend in opposite directions, such that successive grooves of respective pairs of the spiral grooves cross each other.
 
5. The device of one or more of the claims 1 to 4, characterized in that the pitch angle value of the spiral grooves (4, 5) relative to the longitudinal axis of the core (1) is selected to be about 60°.
 
6. The device as claimed in one or more of the claims 1 to 5, characterized in that the depth of the grooves (4, 5) increases in a direction to the distal end of the core (1).
 
7. The device as claimed in one or more of claims 1 to 6, characterized in that the outer surface of said optical cladding (2) is fused in the region between said grooves (4, 5) to the inner diameter to the cap (7).
 
8. The device as claimed in one or more of claims 1 to 7, characterized in that the outer surface of said optical cladding (2) extending over a distance in front and behind the grooved region is fused to the inner diameter to the cap (7).
 
9. The device as claimed in one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that the distal end of the core (1) is terminated by a reflector (6).
 
10. The device of claim 9, characterized in that the reflector has a conical shape, the cone angle of the reflecting cone (6) being about 60 degrees.
 
11. The device of claim 9, characterized in that the reflector has a conical reflecting cone surface, the cone angle of the reflecting cone (6) being about 68 degrees to 90 degrees .
 
12. The device as claimed in one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that the protective sheath comprises at least one buffer layer (3) adjacent to the optical cladding (2) of the core (1), and an outer sheath (14).
 
13. The device as claimed in claim 12, characterized in that the proximal end of the bore of the cap (7) is provided with a section (8) having an increased inner diameter corresponding to the outer diameter of the buffer layer (3).
 
14. The device as claimed in claim 12 or 13 , characterized in that the section (8) having the increased inner diameter at the proximal end of the cap (7) is glued to the at least one buffer layer (3), the glue (9) additionally providing a smooth transition between the outer diameter of the cap (7) and that of the outer sheath (14).
 
15. The device of one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that the inner surface of the bore of the cap (7) is provided with an anti-reflective coating.
 
16. The device of one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that the grooves are produced by cutting by means of a CO2 laser beam (20) by rotating the core (1) and its optical cladding (2) around its longitudinal axis (16) relative to the laser beam and axially moving the laser beam and/or the core (1) and its cladding (2) along the longitudinal axis (16) of the core (1) in a synchronized manner with the rotation of the core (1).
 




Drawing

















REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description