Although lasers have been around for decades, they weren’t successfully developed and utilized for surgery until the early 1980s. Since then, surgeons have perfected the treatment and broadened its uses for dozens of procedures. When compared to traditional surgery, there are many benefits to both the surgeon and the patient.
Studies have shown surgical lasers to be more precise than traditional methods. They better accomplish the goal of cutting in a specified location, without creating a deeper or longer incision than necessary. It will therefore not cause as much damage to surrounding tissue. Because of the precision, surgeons can take on more complex surgeries, as there is typically less bleeding involved. The laser’s heat helps keep the sites germ free as well.
Because incisions are smaller and the damage is more localized, patient recovery time is less through laser procedures. Depending on the surgery, the amount of downtime afterward can be reduced by weeks. In some cases, they can even be outpatient procedures. This means less pain and scarring, as well as reduced healthcare costs. Whenever wound healing time is reduced, it also means less chance of post-operative infections, so the surgery itself is less risky.
As technology develops, lasers are being utilized in various procedures. Early adopters were in the ophthalmology field, but have since spread to gynecology, urology, ENT, neurology, thoracic and cardiovascular disciplines. It is now the preferred method of treatment for hundreds of surgeries. Laser manufacturers are even offering direct training with educational programs for new tools.
In short, lasers are the surgical future. Whether used alone or in combination with traditional surgery, they offer much more versatility in the types of conditions to treat. With healthcare being a growth industry, medical professionals and patients alike can look forward to better treatment and outcomes.
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