Soft tissue laser surgery

Soft tissue laser surgery

Laser surgery offers unique surgical capabilities and significant benefits to both patients and surgeons [D.H. Sliney, S.L. Trokel: Medical lasers and their safe use, ISBN 3-540-97856-9] .

In soft tissue laser surgery, interaction of laser light with the soft tissue provides a fundamentally different approach to surgery. A highly focused laser beam vaporizes the soft tissue with the high water content. Laser can make very small incisions when the beam is focused on the tissue (focal spot size can be as small as ~0.1 mm, but the most widely used in practice is 0.4 mm). When the beam is defocused, the intensity of the laser light on the tissue diminishes, and it can be used for cauterization of small blood vessels and lymphatics, therefore decreases post-operative swellings. Laser beam has a natural sterilization effect -- it evaporates bacteria, viruses and fungi, which leads to a decrease in local infections. Probably most important, the laser decreases post-operative pain by sealing nerve endings. Soft Tissue Laser Surgery is differentiated from Hard Tissue Laser Surgery (bones and teeth in dentistry [D.J.Coluzzi, R.A.Convissar, Atlas of Laser Applications in Dentistry, Quintessense Books, ISBN 978-0-86715-476-4] ) and Laser Eye Surgery (eye sight corrective surgeries [ URL accessed March 25, 2008] ) by the type of lasers used in a particular type of laser surgery. Hard Tissue surgical lasers are dominated by s operating at the wavelengths around 3,000 nm. Laser Eye Surgeries utilize excimer lasers in the UV range of wavelengths. Unlike many solid-state and diode lasers in the visible and near infrared wavelength range (600-2,000 nm), the Carbon dioxide or CO2 laser wavelength (10,600 nm) is highly absorbed by in-vivo soft tissues containing water [ Water Absorption Spectrum. URL accessed April 3, 2008] . Furthermore, modern CO2 laser technology makes these lasers far more affordable than solid-state Er:YAG lasers, which also feature a wavelength that is highly absorbed by water. Because of their unique wavelength and precision, CO2 lasers remain the dominant soft tissue surgical lasers. Surgical laser systems are differentiated not only by the wavelength, but also by the light delivery system: flexible fiber or articulated arm, as well as many other factors.

Soft tissue laser surgery is widely practiced in a variety of applications in human (General surgery, Neurosurgery, ENT, Dentistry, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery [A. Moritz: Oral Laser Applications, Quintessense Books, ISBN 1-850-97150-1] etc.) as well as veterinary [N. Berger, P.H.Eeg, Veterinary Laser Surgery, Blackwell, ISBN 978-0-8138-0678-5] [ Veterinary laser surgery, URL accessed March 25, 2008] surgical fields.

ee also

*Laser scalpel
*Laser resurfacing


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