Potential Hazards of Arthroscopic Laser Surgery

  • David H. Sliney


With the increasing variety of laser wavelengths being employed for arthroscopy, laser safety issues become more complex and more important to address prior to surgery (Sliney and Trokel, 1992). Laser surgeons must be concerned with protecting the patient and the operating room staff as well as themselves. Patient safety is ensured by limiting needless tissue exposure, by avoiding fire, and by protecting the eyes. Safety of the laser surgeon and assistants requires concern for both system safety design and methods to limit potentially hazardous reflections and optical fiber breakage. Environmental hazards from the smoke produced by vaporizing tissue must be minimized by local exhaust ventilation or fume extractors. The pathogenicity and chemical toxicity of vaporized tissue has been the subject of a number of investigations. Safety standards for medical laser applications have been issued that consider all of these potential hazards and their control measures (Sliney and Wolbarsht, 1980; IRPA, 1985; ANSI, 1988, 1993; Sliney and Trokel, 1992; ACGIH, 1993; IEC, 1993).


Collimate Beam Continuous Wave Laser Laser Safety Beam Delivery System Local Exhaust Ventilation 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1995

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  • David H. Sliney

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