Laser Use in Surgery
Laser surgery is quite simply surgery that uses a laser, instead of a scalpel, to cut tissue. The main benefit of a laser is its superficiality, which reduces the recovery time for patients after an operation. It can be used for many procedures. Some are very simple, such as the laser scalpel, which means that a surgical laser is used in place of a scalpel in an otherwise standard medical procedure. Other procedures are more complex, such as laser resurfacing, in which a laser is used to dissolve the molecular bonds of a material. Below, I will discuss different surgical techniques that make use of lasers.
- LASIK: Probably the most well-known use of medical laser equipment, LASIK is a relatively simple operation for correcting near-sightedness or far-sightedness in vision. An irregularly shaped cornea is the cause of bad vision, so the surgery is performed on this part of the eye. Corneas that are too steep cause nearsightedness and corneas that are too flat cause farsightedness, because the eye’s point of focus is in front of or behind the retina. In the first step, the surgeon uses a laser to create a flap on the cornea’s surface. In the second step, the surgeon folds back the flap to allow access to the cornea. Then an excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea so that the focal point hits the retina in the correct spot. Upon completion, the surgeon puts the cornea back into place, and it will heal without need of stitches.
- PROSTATE TREATMENT: Green lasers are used for the treatment and/or reduction of enlarged prostates. The laser vaporizes and removes tissue obstructing the prostate.
- TATTOO REMOVAL: Lasers are now the most common method of removing a tattoo. The laser targets the ink with pulses of concentrated light that break the ink into fragments, which are then naturally expelled from the body.
- LASER BODY SCULPTING: One of the most exciting new uses of laser equipment is in body sculpting, an alternative to liposuction. Laser body sculpting uses a low level, “cold” laser (meaning that the beam is not hot like a standard laser) that seek out fat cells and puncture their membranes. Once the membrane is punctured, the fat cells leak, and the fatty content exits your system through normal bodily functions. Laser body sculpting is much safer than regular liposuction, as it carries no health risks, no recovery time, and no strange side effects like lumpy, misshapen skin. The patient simply lies down underneath the laser for twenty minutes, then turns over and lets the laser work on the other side for another twenty minutes. Since there is no recovery period, recipients will be up and running the very same day.