Laser surgery is not something most people consider when their pets need medical treatment, yet it is becoming a more common practice. Laser stands for “Light Activation by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” The laser energy automatically seals small blood vessels as it cuts. When defocused (moved away from tissue creating a larger spot size), the Laser becomes an effective coagulation device. Not only does the blood-free cutting benefit the patient, it provides a clear, dry surgical field for the surgeon. Without bleeders continually blocking the surgical field, the overall procedure time may be decreased. The lack of bleeding also lets the surgeon develop a really good feel for what normal tissue looks like, because he can see the tissue without blood being in the way. This enables the surgeon to have more control over what tissue to remove.
The CO2 Laser and How It Works
The CO2 laser is the most common laser for pet surgery. The CO2 laser produces a beam of light that is invisible but is used to vaporize or cut skin and soft tissues. The veterinarian can substitute the laser for a scalpel or other blade in many surgeries. The CO2 laser vaporizes the water in the area the vet is working on and allows him to remove the tissue that the laser has struck.
Benefits of Laser Surgery
The main benefit touted by veterinarians is that the laser has virtually no effect on the tissue surrounding the treatment area, since no tissue-damaging incisions are needed. The affected area is easily pinpointed, which eliminates guesswork. In addition, the laser never actually touches the tissue, which means that there is much less tissue trauma, and bleeding is greatly reduced. Of additional benefit to your pet is that surgery time is reduced greatly, and so is the pain to your animal.
Uses of Laser Surgery
Laser surgery has a wide range of possibilities for your pet. Spays and neuterings are some of the most common procedures, as well as declawing, in which the pet’s pain is especially reduced. Ear surgeries (mostly for dogs with chronic ear infections), eye surgeries, oral surgery and lump or tumor removals are commonly treated with laser surgery. In addition, lick granulomas, a skin disorder in dogs in which dogs tend to lick the lower portion of their legs until a lesion is formed, can be treated with laser surgery.