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Laser scalpel

File:Sharplan 40C.jpg
A 40 watt CO2 laser scalpel with applications in ENT, gynecology, dermatology, oral surgery, and podiatry

A laser scalpel is a scalpel for surgery, cutting or ablating living biological tissue by the energy of laser light. In soft tissue laser surgery, a laser beam ablates or vaporizes the soft tissue with high water content.

In ophthalmology, excimer lasers are used for changing the shape of the cornea, procedures known as LASIK and LASEK.

Other surgical fields where the use of a laser scalpel is common are circumcision, neurosurgery and vascular surgery. Today YAG and CO2 lasers are used, but possible benefits of using the vastly more expensive free electron lasers are being researched.

For research use in cell biology, special laser micro-scalpels can make cuts smaller than a single cell.


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