Applicator for RF thermokeratoplasty: feasibility study using theoretical modeling and ex vivo experiments

Ann Biomed Eng. 2012 May;40(5):1182-91. doi: 10.1007/s10439-011-0492-1. Epub 2011 Dec 22.


Radiofrequency (RF) thermokeratoplasty uses RF currents to alter the curvature of the cornea by means of thermal lesions. An RF applicator which combined a microkeratome suction ring and a circular electrode was designed with the aim of creating circular thermal lesions in a predictable, uniform and safe way. An experimental study was conducted on ex vivo porcine eyes. A theoretical model was also designed. The experimental results showed a lesion depth of 34.2 ± 11.0% of corneal thickness at a constant voltage of 50 V up to roll-off (1000 Ω of impedance). With a voltage of 30 V for 30 s the mean depth was 36.8 ± 8.1%. The progress of electrical impedance throughout heating and lesion dimensions were used to compare the experimental and theoretical results. Both the impedance evolution and lesion dimensions obtained from the theoretical model showed good agreement with the experimental findings. The findings suggest that the new applicator could be a suitable option for creating uniform circular thermal lesions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Radio Waves*
  • Refractive Surgical Procedures / instrumentation*
  • Refractive Surgical Procedures / methods*