Laser Surgery Overview
What is laser surgery?
Laser surgery is a type of surgery that uses special light beams instead of instruments
for surgical procedures.
How does a laser work?
The functioning of a laser goes back to Albert Einstein's theory of stimulated emission of
radiation and includes other theories that help explain local tissue damage. As the
light beam hits the skin, the skin may either reflect the light away, scatter the
light, absorb the light, or let the light pass right through the different layers
of the skin. Each layer of the skin uses the light differently.
Certain parts of the skin, called chromophones, absorb the light. When these chromophones
absorb the light, physical, mechanical, chemical, or temperature changes may occur
in the tissue.
There are many different types of lasers, including the carbon dioxide laser, the
YAG (neodymium, or yttrium aluminum garnet) laser, and the argon laser. Each one works
in a different manner and may be used for different treatment options. Laser light
can be delivered either continuously or intermittently. The wavelength of the laser
determines the target and the effect it may have.
What types of surgeries use lasers?
There are many indications for the use of lasers in surgery. The following are some
of the more common indications:
To shrink or destroy tumors
To help prevent blood loss by sealing small blood vessels
Refractive eye surgery
To treat some skin conditions, including to remove warts, moles, tattoos, birthmarks,
acne, scars, wrinkles, and unwanted hair.