Hate needles? Korean invention may change your life

A new laser device designed by Korean scientists could be the answer to painful needle-based injections. The laser injections are currently being used in aesthetic skin treatments, however a painless injection is now being developed that could possibly replace the needle.

The researchers, from the Seoul National University in South Korea, wrote that the erbium laser (Er:YAG) propels medicine with the right force to (almost) painlessly enter the skin. The jet of the laser injection is just over the width of a human hair and can hit speeds of 30 metres per second (100 feet). The jet of treatment solution smoothly penetrates to a predetermined target depth under the skin without splashback.

This invention also has the potential to revolutionise needle-based cosmetic treatments like anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers, which currently both rely heavily on their needle-based delivery method.

Piston-style injectors are already available, however jet strength and the drug dose have been more difficult to predict in real life. The laser driven microjet has been tested on (actual) guinea pigs, with the drug able to penetrate several millimetres under the skin without damage to tissue. Injectors are being developed for clinical use, but remain some time away from market.

The drugs can be inserted into the skin with multiple pulses of laser beam at lower laser energy levels than were used in the previous Nd:YAG laser system. The new system uses the beam wavelength best absorbable by water with a longer pulse mode for a longer microjet penetration into the skin.

Don’t understand what all that means? Don’t worry. If you hate needles, you can rest assured you are not alone, and there are soon going to be alternatives available that don’t require the drawing of any blood, are mostly painless, and will be over and done with quickly. Roll on the future!

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