Medical lasers are medical devices that use precisely focused light sources to treat or remove tissues.
The term “laser” stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Ordinary light, such as that from a light bulb, has many wavelengths and spreads in all directions. Laser light, on the other hand, has a specific wavelength. It is focused in a narrow beam and creates a very high-intensity light. Because lasers can focus very accurately on tiny areas, they can be used for very precise surgical work or for cutting through tissue (in place of a scalpel).
Lasers are used in many types of surgical procedures. Some examples include
With proper use, lasers allow the surgeon to accomplish more complex tasks, reduce blood loss, decrease postoperative discomfort, reduce the chance of wound infection, and achieve better wound healing.
As with any type of surgery, laser surgery has potential risks. Risks of laser surgery include incomplete treatment of the problem, pain, infection, bleeding, scarring, and skin color changes.
Laser surgery uses non-ionizing radiation, so it does not have the same long-term risks as x-rays or other types of ionizing radiation.
Center for Devices and Radiological Health. (n.d.). Medical lasers: FDA. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/radiation-emitting-products/surgical-and-therapeutic-products/medical-lasers.
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