Surgical lasers

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LASER is the acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Increasing knowledge and availability has made it more practical for veterinary surgeons to own and operate surgical lasers. With a full understanding of laser physics and safety and following the basic preparations discussed below, veterinary surgeons can quickly master surgical lasers and make use of them in a variety of procedures. This chapter considers the following: Physics of laser light; Laser types; Safety considerations; and Applications of the CO laser.

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7.1 Laser light is coherent, monochromatic, collimated and intense. Note the differences between laser light and the white light produced by an incandescent light bulb.
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7.3 Three common commercially available surgical lasers: (left to right) Accuvet 25D-980 Diode Surgical Laser; Novapulse 20 watt CO laser; Cutting Edge ML030 30 watt CO laser.
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7.5 Standard laser safety warning sign.
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7.6 High-filtration particulate surgical masks have a pore size of <1 µm. This small diameter protects the surgeon and assistant from inhaling heavy plume material.
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7.7 Protective goggles for CO laser surgery use. The pair shown are rated OD6 because they reduce the intensity of 10.6 µm laser light by a factor of 10.
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7.9 A skin incision made with a CO laser should be clean, dry and less painful than a scalpel incision. The superpulse temporal pattern is an ideal setting for skin incisions and, if available, can be pulsed for a greater reduction in char formation.
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7.10 Generally, the soft palate should not extend beyond the level of the caudal pole of the tonsil. The goal for laser-assisted staphylectomy is for the new soft palate to conform to the shape of the epiglottis and just barely make contact with it.
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7.11 Excision of an anal sac using an open technique. The laser is used to vaporize tissue surrounding the glandular serosa. The spherical gland is removed from its bed using gentle traction.
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