Laser surgery uses light beams, a less invasive surgical approach

Laser surgery is a type of surgery that uses special light beams instead of instruments for surgical procedures.

The functioning of a laser goes back to Albert Einstein's theory of stimulated emission of radiation and includes other theories that help explain local tissue damage. As the light beam hits the skin, the skin may reflect the light away, scatter the light, absorb the light, or let the light pass right through the different layers of the skin. Each layer of the skin uses the light differently.

Certain parts of the skin, called chromophores, absorb the light. When these chromophores absorb the light, physical, mechanical, chemical, or temperature changes may occur in the tissue.

There are many different types of lasers, including the carbon dioxide laser, the YAG (neodymium, or yttrium aluminum garnet) laser, and the argon laser. Each one works in a different manner and may be used for different treatment options. Laser light can be delivered either continuously or intermittently. The wavelength of the laser determines the target and the effect it may have.

Ways laser surgery is used to treat a variety of conditions

There are many indications for the use of lasers in surgery. The following are some of the more common indications:

  • To shrink or destroy tumors
  • To help prevent blood loss by sealing small blood vessels
  • Refractive eye surgery
  • Dental procedures
  • To treat some skin conditions, including removal of warts, moles, tattoos, birthmarks, acne, scars, wrinkles and unwanted hair

Your doctor will evaluate your condition and determine if you are a candidate for laser surgery.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.