Formally speaking, medical laser characterizes all the “medical devices that use precisely focused light sources to treat or remove tissues”, according to the professional group the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The term “laser” is actually an acronym for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”. When used for medical purposes, lasers provide doctors the necessary conditions to carry out procedures with surgical precision (literally). Although laser therapy might involve multiple sessions, the patient will benefit from efficient surgery without affecting any healthy tissue surrounding the infected area.
A medical laser can cover a wide range of procedures, which include but are not limited to dental, cosmetic, breast or refractive eye surgery, and even tumor removal. Lasers act as an innovative solution for countless health problems, with numerous benefits like rapid healing and reduction of blood loss. As opposed to x-rays, laser surgery involves non-ionizing radiation, which reduces health risks in the long run. More and more companies and manufacturers have appeared on the market that offer state-of-the-art medical laser technology, allowing the kind of clinic like the Celebrity Laser Spa & Surgery Center to be founded. Such places involve well-prepared specialists that benefit from onsite training on top-notch systems like Topcon and who have undergone the Medical Laser Safety Officer course. A few other popular clinics in the United States are the Peninsula Laser Eye Medical Group, the Cupertino Medical Laser Center, the Ellis Eye and Laser Center, Waco Medical Laser & Skin Care or the Boothe Laser Center in Dallas, Texas.
However, procedures with medical lasers might conclude with scars, pain or changes in skin color. Before jumping to conclusions, we would like to present the entire process, covering applications, aesthetics, technology and more. Find out all of the details regarding medical lasers and see if this form of surgery is the right solution for your medical and / or aesthetic needs.
As mentioned above, medical lasers are used for quite a few procedures. As far as health issues are considered, laser therapy has truly revolutionized the science and medical industries as we know them. Thanks to this form of advanced technology, patients can remove, repair and treat various diseases that otherwise would have required long years of treatment. In order to better understand the impact that lasers have on medical conditions, we have prepared some of the most significant procedures involving lasers.
Kidney Stone Removal
Those who have suffered from kidney stones know that the pain can easily become unbearable. The process of removing kidney stones via medical lasers is scientifically known as lithotripsy. The procedure involves the usage of shock waves for breaking up stones in the kidney, but also in the ureter or bladder. After undergoing the surgery, the broken stones are eliminated from your body when you use the restroom. This particular form of laser surgery has proven to be effective in multiple cases.
As far as skin problems are concerned, laser surgery might be one of the best solutions for removing infected or unwanted tissues. Patients have resorted to laser surgery for removing birthmarks, warts, sunspots, wrinkles and even tattoos that were no longer desired. Laser surgery is also used to remove potentially cancerous skin cells in order to stop the disease from spreading or developing in the first place. Many patients have the possibility of undergoing the procedures completely free of pain with the help of general anesthesia, should they prefer to completely fall asleep.
Corneal Eye Surgery
Medic professionals apply corneal eye surgery in order to improve the vision of the patient. The procedure is known in the medical industry as LASIK and involves the permanent modification of the cornea’s shape (the see-through shell which covers the eye). Patients with poor vision prefer corneal eye surgery if they have to use contact lenses or glasses in order to see well. The great news about LASIK is that it is a fast and well-known procedure that takes 15 minutes at the most for correcting each eye. This means that if you are facing problems with both eyes, you will experience maximum half an hour in surgery.
Prostate resection (minimally invasive) is the optimum solution for men experiencing problems with urination due to an enlarged prostate. This form of surgery with medical lasers involves removing a part of the prostate gland in order to promote the natural flow of urine out of the human body. Men who are considering this form of surgery should not worry; it involves minimal invasion and absolutely no incisions in the skin. The options for prostate resection are: transurethral incision, transurethral microwave thermotherapy, transurethral needle ablation, laser prostatectomy or transurethral electro vaporization. The patient will be generally anesthetized and will feel no pain during surgery.
Varicose Vein Treatment
Veins that are blood-filled, swollen and that provoke a lot of pain are varicose veins. The most common places where they develop are in the leg areas. While patients with varicose veins can opt for phlebectomy, ablation or sclerotherapy for treating them, they can also use laser treatment on the skin’s surface. The varicose veins shall disappear due to tiny bursts of light. Medical lasers are used to treat varicose veins when blood flow problems or blood clots occur, or even for aesthetic reasons.
One of the most life-saving features of medical lasers is that they have the ability to remove tumors. According to the National Cancer Institute, “laser light can be used to remove cancer or precancerous growths or to relieve symptoms of cancer”. The procedure is carried out via an endoscope, which is a thin tube that can enter the body to treat growths inside the stomach, esophagus, colon or windpipe. Some of the main advantages of tumor removal by medical lasers are that less blood is lost during the gentle procedure and the risk of infecting the body is smaller than in traditional surgery.
Nowadays, medical lasers have also become a popular solution for improving aesthetics. Laser surgery can also be used for beauty reasons, especially for those who want to maintain a youthful appearance throughout their aging years. The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery from Chicago estimates that almost 170,000 men and women in America used laser surgery for facial resurfacing in the year 1998, increasing 64% from just two years before that. According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the types of cosmetic laser surgery are:
- Skin Lesions & Birthmarks Laser Removal – patients who have embarrassing birthmarks can also use laser therapy to remove them. The laser works to decrease the size of the atypical blood vessels which are the cause of birthmarks in the first place. The area where lasers are used will be visibly lightened and the patient will enjoy a more normal type of skin. Moreover, quite a few patients can enjoy removing unwanted tattoos through laser surgery, as well as warts and other growths on the skin. While some problems can be fixed during one session of laser treatment, others might require more than one operation for best results.
- Laser Hair Transplants – if an individual has decided to get hair transplants, lasers will help them in preparing the area where the transplant will take place.
- Laser Skin Resurfacing – this particular form of laser surgery is commonly applied for the reduction or wrinkles, especially around the eyes or lips. It can also be used to remove blemishes and even reduce wrinkles on your whole face.
After undergoing laser surgery, many patients are likely to experience certain redness and possibly swollen skin for a couple of days. In most cases, they are allowed to use ointments available for sale which will sooth the skin, but the patient must avoid direct exposure to the sun during this period. The results might take even two months to appear, so be patient if you choose to undergo cosmetic laser surgery. This might be a great option if you are looking to work on your self-confidence by taking better care of your physical features and all-around image.
All in all, why should you resort to medical lasers for surgery? Discover the main advantages below:
- Precision – like we said before, medical lasers allow super precise surgery without damaging other tissues surrounding the affect areas. This form of surgery involves collimated, monochromatic and coherent laser light, which allows this precision to take place.
- Less Blood – lasers also have the power to coagulate or thicken blood vessels, which means that the patient will not be losing as much blood as he or she normally would during surgery.
- Less Pain – even though multiple types of surgery involve general anesthesia, procedures with the help of medical lasers help the patient by experiencing less pain after the operation. This is due to the power that medical lasers have to seal the nerve ends.
- Cleanliness – sterilization is one of the most important aspects when going into surgery, and laser therapy has this subject well covered. Because this form of operation involves no mechanical instruments or direct touch, sterilization is naturally offered during the process.
- Technologies – laser surgery is a very high-tech procedure that can be completely under the control of a computer. Doctors can use microscopes to operate meticulously and just treat tiny infected areas at a time.
- No incisions – one of the best features of laser surgery that especially patients will enjoy is that it involves no cuts into the skin. Optical fibers are used to transmit the laser beam and the patient can go home incision-free after a short period of time.
- Clear View – the process of surgery with medical lasers is particularly helpful for the technician, as well. No instruments can block their view and they can operate without anything hindering their sight.