A laser is an intensely hot beam of light energy emitted at a specific wavelength. In laser surgery, lasers are used instead of blades to cut through tissue. Laser surgery was first used in humans in the 1980s, and as the benefits became more widely understood, it was eventually practiced on animals. Carbon dioxide lasers are most commonly used in veterinary medicine.
Laser surgery can be performed on almost any soft tissue surgery, such as spaying, neutering, dermatological conditions, removal of cysts or tumors, and more.
Laser surgery has several benefits in comparison to traditional surgery performed with a scalpel:
- Extreme precision can be achieved by calibrating the laser to the most ideal level of depth and intensity. The instrument used by the veterinarian to create the laser incision is also much more easy to control to a precise degree than a surgical scalpel.
- Lasers lower the risk of infection because their heat essentially sears the surface of the surgical area, killing any bacteria.
- Patients recover faster from laser surgery because there is less trauma and bruising to the site of surgery.
- Laser surgery results in far less bleeding than regular surgery because the burning heat of the laser cauterizes the wound, meaning that the capillaries which carry blood are sealed when the incision is made. This clears the view of the surgical field for the veterinarian, which allows them greater accuracy, and reduces the time of the procedure.
- Less swelling occurs because less trauma is caused to the tissues, and the lymphatics in the surgical area are also cauterized by the laser beam. This allows the patient to recover faster.
- Less post-operative pain is achieved because less trauma was caused to the tissues, and the laser beam also seals the nerve endings at the surgical site, which would normally be the primary pain receptors carrying signals of discomfort to the brain.
If you think your pet would be a good candidate for veterinary laser surgery, please discuss your options with your veterinarian.