Lasers have been used in surgery for many years but are still considered by many as “new technology”. LASER is an acronym, which stands for, “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”. Laser energy can be used in ways similar to a scalpel, but in addition, allows the performance of surgical procedures which in the past, were difficult or impossible with conventional techniques. Various laser wavelengths have been found useful in surgery but each has its advantages and disadvantages dependant upon it’s tissue absorption characteristics.
The CO2 laser is an extremely useful general-purpose laser especially for the oral cavity, pharynx (throat), and skin. The CO2 wavelength is highly attracted to water and therefore ideal for soft tissues. Its penetration is only 0.1 mm, thus allowing accurate incision and ablation of tissue with out significant thermal injury to surrounding structures.
What Conditions are Treated with Laser?
The CO2 laser has advantages of providing a bloodless surgical field, sealing nerves and lymphatic’s, providing a “sterile” incision with decreased pain postoperatively, and decreased swelling and scarring. It also allows the controlled ablation (removal) of large flat lesions without the need for skin grafting or closure. The uses in surgery are numerous and essentially include anything in which a scalpel may be used. Removal of lesions from vascular areas such as the tongue may be done in an essentially bloodless fashion. Frequently, only topical anesthesia is required for superficial intra-oral lesions. Below are listed some of the common procedures in dentistry and oral and maxillofacial surgery that can be assisted with the CO2 laser and are routinely performed in our office.
- Removal of pharyngeal lesions
- Removal of vascular lesions
- Tuberosity reduction
- Gingivectomy and gingivoplasty
- Excision of benign lesions (fibroma, papilloma, pyogenic granuloma, epulus, symptomatic lichen planus, leukoplakia, verruca, etc.).
- Crown lengthening and removal of redundant peri-implant tissues
- Treatment of apthous ulcers to reduce pain and duration
- Second stage implant uncovering
- Salivary calculi (stones) removal
- Cosmetic Skin Resurfacing and the removal of dermatological lesions (skin tags, moles, etc.)
- Laser Assisted Uvulo-palatoplasty (LAUP) for treatment of loud and disruptive snoring
The availability of the CO2 laser in our office enables us to provide our patients with leading edge surgical care and increases our abilities to treat a variety of conditions. Please feel free to ask us about how laser surgery can benefit you.