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Transcript of Laser Surgery
Laser surgery is used in todays society for medical purposes in treatment and diagnosis, to cut and destroy tissue on the body that is abnormal or diseased without harming the healthy tissue. Shrinking and destroying tumors and lesions on the body. To close nerve endings to reduce postoperative pain (after surgery pain). Also to cauterize (seal) blood vessels and lymph vessels during surgery to reduce blood loss and minimise swelling and decrease the spread of tumor cells. It is also used for beauty treatment. To remove moles, warts and tattoos and decrease the appearance of wrinkles and remove unwanted hair. It is mostly known for its magic work with sight correction and its ability to get rid of unwanted wrinkles and 'imperfections' of the skin in todays society.
When and whom invented it?
Physicists had grasped the idea of a laser or maser for quite some time. They had been trying to experiment with shorter wavelengths of light and trying to find a way to amplify radiation using light. Other discoveries were that atoms were able to reach higher energy states to emit light. These physicists were in a race to create an infrared maser similar to a laser but bigger wavelengths. These discoveries that were made led to the first laser being developed. Charles Hard Townes, Nickalay Basov, Alexander Prokhorov and Gordon Gould were some of the physicists to discover these theories. Then in 1960 the first working laser was reported. Theodore Maiman was the winner of the race on the 16th of May 1960 by shining a high powered flash lamp on a ruby rod that's surfaces was coated with silver. When the laser was made operative it was known as a 'solution to a problem'. This was because no one really knew what the newly discovered laser could be used for.
How does it work?
Laser surgery works by using the intense beam of a laser which is then carefully focused. The Lasers can have different intensities depending on the wavelength that is used. A laser can only emitt one wavelength (or colour) of light. It needs different intensities or wavelengths as different wavelengths are absorbed by different parts of the body. The laser is a good device for this because a laser can focus on one wavelength and also because it has a broad spectrum meaning it can be used on many different body parts. The laser lights heat is absorbed by the cells of the body which then causes the cells to burst, hence the laser surgery is mainly used to cut away tissue. The laser targets water, hemoglobin (found in the body, it is a protein used to transport oxygen) and skin pigments. It can cut away the damaged tissue without damaging the healthy tissue because it is so precise.
The process of Laser Surgery
Skin resurfacing, before and after
What is it?
Laser Surgery uses laser light to remove diseased tissue and stop the bleeding of blood vessels it is mostly used in medical procedures and is a device that replaces a scalpel in surgery for precise surgery, used to cut soft tissue. A Laser is a device that generates an intense beam of light by strengthening a light wave by creating one wavelength which is also referred to as monochromatic light. It is able to create one wavelength by 'pumping' up atoms to higher energy by bouncing the light back and forth. Laser surgery is mostly used for vision correction.
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Types of Laser Surgery
There are many types of laser surgery used on the body such as laser eye surgery, skin resurfacing and hair removal which is known as cosmetic surgery, diseased cell removal and pain relief is known as general surgery.
Wavelength in Lasers
Laser surgery/laser beam uses electromagnetic waves or light waves to create heat. The waves of a laser are very directional unlike a flashlight for example and a laser's light waves are much more different than normal light waves. Laser light has one wavelength creating its focused or directional light. Like light although a laser is electromagnetic radiation (when electric and magnetic fields interact). The colour of the laser can be changed by changing the wavelength, you can see this on the electromagnetic spectrum.
During Laser surgery the monochromatic light (one wavelength) that is a laser creates an intense light. The energy is created by the amplified atoms. When the laser touches the body it transfers the energy to the skin or body. The water, hemoglobin, and skin pigments convert this energy to heat energy. This causes the tissue cells to burst. After the surgery the energy transferred is lost as heat is the quickest energy to loose.
There are different types of lasers used for medical treatment they are;
- Carbon dioxide Laser
- Argon Laser.
Carbon Dioxide Laser
The Carbon dioxide Laser is a gas laser. This type of laser is able to cut through thin layers of skin, minimizing bleeding and minimizing damage to surrounding tissue. This type of laser is good for skin resurfacing.
An electromagnetic wave is formed when an electric field interacts with a magnetic field to form a wave that carries energy but no mass. An electromagnetic wave takes the shape of what is called a transverse wave where the electric and magnetic fields are perpendicular (90 degree angle) to each other and to the direction of its pro . Other properties of an electromagnetic wave is the wavelength, the distance between each wave, the trough(the lowest point of the wave) and the crest (the highest point of the wave). All electromagnetic waves have a frequency (which is the amount of time between each wave) and linked with the wavelength you are able to find the speed of the whole wave. An electromagnetic wave can produce light, heat and sound energy.
Neodymium: yttrium-aluminum-garnet Laser
This type of Laser can penetrate skin more deeply than other lasers. It is able to cut deeper because of its ability to clot blood quickly allowing surgeons to look and touch body parts deeper in the body that would otherwise be reached by open surgery
The distance between each wave being the wavelength can determine what colour the light ends up as.
An argon Laser provides a shallow penetration into skin and is mainly used to treat skin conditions. It is able to safely cut away small layers of skin because of this property, this type of laser uses light sensitive dyes to dissolve and shrink tumors.
Laser Eye Surgery
Laser eye surgery is a common type of laser surgery. Laser eye surgery aims to fix refractive error in the eye. The laser is used on the underlying cornea, it is used to shape it accordingly to correct the refractive error. The result may last a lifetime.
Laser skin resurfacing- This treatment is commonly used, it reduces the appearance of wrinkles and is a new advancement in skin rejuvenation. Removal of birthmarks, lesions, tattoos, veins and warts - The laser is able to target the abnormal blood vessels that create them and reduce them in size creating a lightening of the skin and a reduction in the appearance of bumps and lumps. Hair removal - The laser is able to heat the follicle and burst it leaving the hair removed and the follicle left reduced in size.
General laser surgery
The Laser is a very useful tool in general surgery as it can cut away damaged tissue easily and in a case of brain surgery is very precise and safer. This type of treatment also reduces any pain and swelling after surgery and stops general pain by sealing the nerve ends. The lasers ability to react well with the body makes it an important tool in surgery. It is also used in dental procedures and is used for teeth whitening and oral surgery.
History of Laser Surgery
After the Laser was invented they didn't know what exactly the laser was used for and experimenting with lasers began. The first laser that was experimented in medicine the continuous wave could not be controlled properly and so damage to the healthy tissue was unavoidable. An advancement came from that which was a Q-switch similar to a camera shutter and the wave could be controlled in pulses. From this they were able to discover the three different types of lasers to be able to work on all different types of body parts. It has advanced so much that there is now a broad spectrum of wavelengths that are able to be controlled. The laser can be focused easily and they have invented a laser scalpel to be used in surgery and other laser devices that can now be used to reduce appearance of wrinkles and remove hair.
Laser devices (advancements)
The Laser scalpel is a device that is used in general laser surgery and is a precise device able to focus on one cell and not damage any other cells. It is a huge advancement in laser surgery.
Another device is a laser hair removal device such as this. They have now created do it yourself devices that you can operate at home.
The discovery of the lasers medical power
Theodore Maiman was born on the 11th of May 1927 in Los Angeles. His father was also an inventor introduced him to the world of technology . Then in January 1956 at 28 after working in the navy within technology , Theodore began working at Hughes Atomic Physics where he began his ruby maser project.
After a few years of experimenting within this technology by many industries they had discovered its usefulness. It had been found that the laser was useful in manufacturing, communications, entertainment and importantly medicine where it was discovered that the laser reacted well with skin problems for certain procedures. From this discovery laser surgery has developed so that it can be used in almost every branch of medicine.
It is often referred to as bloodless surgery meaning it is a clean way to do surgery and reduces any risks of blood loss. Laser surgery also reduces the risk of infection as the heat generated from the laser keeps the surgical area free of germs. It costs less money than normal surgery and takes less time. The lasers ability to seal nerves reduces bleeding, swelling, scarring, pain and the time of recovery
The surgeon needs to be properly trained in laser surgery as there is many risks such as exploding lungs and other organs, cause more harm to the problem than solve it and can cause discolouration to the skin and scarring as well as pain if the laser is misused. There needs to be the right precaution equipment e.g oxygen and CPR kit. These risks need to be discussed with your doctor and the result of the surgery depends on the skill of the surgeon.
People who need laser surgery
Close to everyone will perhaps require or want laser surgery at some point in their life. People who want beauty improvements such as teeth whitening, hair removal, decrease wrinkles and other imperfections of the skin. These people would use laser surgery, especially famous people use it to whiten teeth and have face lifts to make themselves appear younger which influences other people as well. Most importantly it is used for medical surgery. Lasers can be used on every body part for surgery and so if you have problems with organs or muscles or arteries and soft tissue a laser can aid in fixing this. It is an easy tool that can cut away tissue safely and so is used in most operations. In conclusion laser surgery is used by anyone who requires a surgical operation where soft tissue is involved.