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Soft-tissue laser surgery

File:Sharplan 40C.jpg
A 40 watt CO2 laser used for soft-tissue laser surgery

In soft-tissue laser surgery, interaction of laser light with the soft tissue provides a special 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.

A 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 [1]) and Laser Eye Surgery (eyesight corrective surgeries [2]) by the type of lasers used in a particular type of laser surgery.

Hard Tissue surgical lasers are dominated by Er:YAG lasers 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.[3] 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 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 by other factors.

Soft-tissue laser surgery is used in a variety of applications in human (General surgery, Neurosurgery, ENT, Dentistry, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery[4] etc.) as well as veterinary [5][6] surgical fields.

Minimally invasive interaction of ultrashort pulse lasers with biological tissues has been investigated to understand their characteristics and mechanism and how they can be utilized to advance surgical applications of lasers. [7][8]

See also


  1. ^ D.J.Coluzzi, R.A.Convissar, Atlas of Laser Applications in Dentistry, Quintessense Books, ISBN 978-0-86715-476-4
  2. ^ URL accessed March 25, 2008
  3. ^ Water Absorption Spectrum. URL accessed April 3, 2008
  4. ^ A. Moritz: Oral Laser Applications, Quintessense Books, ISBN 1-85097-150-1
  5. ^ N. Berger, P.H.Eeg, Veterinary Laser Surgery, Blackwell, ISBN 978-0-8138-0678-5
  6. ^ Veterinary laser surgery, URL accessed March 25, 2008
  7. ^ Amir Yousef Sajjadi, Kunal Mitra, Michael Grace, Ablation of subsurface tumors using an ultra-short pulse laser, Optics and Lasers in Engineering, Volume 49, Issue 3, March 2011, Pages 451-456, ISSN 0143-8166
  8. ^ Sajjadi, A. Y., K. Mitra, et al. (2013). "THERMAL ANALYSIS AND EXPERIMENTS OF LASER–TISSUE INTERACTIONS: A REVIEW." 44(3-4): 345-388. DOI: 10.1615/HeatTransRes.2012006425