Excerpts from Veterinary Laser Surgery Guide

    Noel Berger and Peter H. Eeg
    Veterinary Laser Surgery, A Practical Guide
    Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 978-0-8138-0678-5

    veterinary-laser-surgery-practical-guidePage 101, “Pain Management…”

    We… have a steadfast belief in the reduction of recurrent pain response when proper CO2 laser energy is applied to a target tissue.

    Pages 70-71, “Delivery Systems”

    CO2 lasers employ either articulated arm or the hollow waveguide.

    Articulated arms … can be cumbersome to use. The mirrors can also cloud or become misaligned over time. This may require off-site servicing and be costly and they are not always easy to change out. Most articulated arms are less positional, especially when working in the oral cavity or ear, and require more care when handling.

    Flexible waveguides are more versatile in restricted areas. They allow for easier maneuvering of the handpiece intra-operatively. … Hollow waveguides are considered by many to be the latest technological advance…These devices are very maneuverable and positioning is often more natural. … The per unit cost of these delivery systems is also less than articulated arm transmission systems.

    Pages 71-72, “Age of Equipment”

    The most current technology uses an RF excited laser medium… The RF allows for minimal creation of heat…, which in turn allows for use of simpler passive cooling of the unit that does not require refilling, pumping, or repair.

    Older technology uses… DC electrical energy to excite the molecules to emit photons. A much greater amount of heat is generated during this process. This type of technology requires … cooling via a radiator and cooling fluid passed over the canister to dissipate heat. These older systems also have o-rings at the end of the canisters that continually expand and contract during the heating. These o-rings can eventually crack, permitting the molecules inside the canister to leak out.

    Newer laser devices use power calibration…that give accurate readings of actual energy output from the tip of the laser handpiece. This better assures the user that the correct power density is being achieved. The operator without technical support can also do this calibration. Sharing of (surgical) techniques is also more accurate when this type of equipment power calibration is available.

    Page 91, “Economic Considerations…”

    …consider surveying your best 50 to 100 clients on their feelings about your proposed new charges for laser surgery. You may be surprised at how accepting they are of this type of new technology and the improvement in care it can provide for their pets.

    Page 94, “Indirect Benefits”

    Most clinicians that we have spoken with who use laser energy to enhance and augment their treatment options feel that laser energy increases their visibility among both clients and potential clients.

    Page 140, “Introduction to Clinical Applications…”

    The major disadvantage of using articulated arms for transmitting laser light is their fragility. They may also be much less flexible and more unwieldy… It is also extremely difficult and costly to maintain these devices in perfect alignment for proper use.

    Page 148, “Routine Procedure Considerations”

    The CO2 laser wavelength has a high absorption coefficient in water that makes it ideal for soft tissue incisions and ablations because it results in the least amount of collateral tissue damage…

    On the other hand, wavelengths generated by diode or Nd:Yag … lasers are poorly absorbed by cellular water…

    Further Reading

    Veterinary Laser Surgery – Aesculight is an excellent surgical laser with greater precision, versatility and ease-of-use than scalpel or electrosurge. It is specifically designed to help the clinician improve the quality of patient care and facilitate the growth of the veterinary practice.