Mid-Infrared Laser Surgery

  • M. L. Wolbarsht
  • D. Shi
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSB, volume 252)


Present CO2 laser instruments for general surgery offer many advantages over conventional methods with scalpels and cauterizers yet there are still many limitations. A particularly critical one is the damage to tissue adjacent to that ablated by the laser energy. Laser energy applied to the tissue immediately produces thermal or mechanical damage to a volume surrounding the impact zone. Part of this is due to scattering, but other mechanisms also act on the tissue. Steam formation, thermal expansion, and acoustic shockwaves, with much of the energy in the ultrasonic region, have an effect termed physical amplification. In a living system, there is also a secondary and delayed amplification of the size of the exposure site. This delayed change, the reaction of the living system to the physical trauma, has been termed biological amplification. Some of the important factors of biological amplification are: cell death and histamine or toxin release, inflammation and edema, immune responses, hemorrhage, muto/carcinogenesis, and interference with respiration and cardiac function. For surgery to be successful, biological amplification must be avoided or, at least, minimized.


Short Pulse Thermal Damage Absorption Depth Laser Exposure Thermal Relaxation Time 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. L. Wolbarsht
    • 1
  • D. Shi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical EngineeringDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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