Types Of Lasers Used In ENT Surgeries

The invention of the laser has revolutionized surgery. Lasers have allowed surgeries that would normally require hospitalization to be outpatient procedures, plus patients often have an easier time with healing. If you are facing surgery on your ears, nose, or throat, here are the lasers used in such surgeries by an ENT specialist, as well as what types of surgeries they are used in.

What A Laser Is

Lasers are electro-optical devices. These devices emit light in a beam that can be used in surgery. Some lasers can be seen with the naked eye while others cannot. Different lasers use a different wavelengths of light and a laser that is effective on the skin may not be as effective on other areas of the body to due the differences in the light wavelengths.

Why Lasers Are Used In Surgery

Medical lasers offer many benefits for both the surgeons and patients. Using a laser allows a surgeon to target only the area that is damaged or diseased, reducing the amount of trauma the body endures. Normal tissues are preserved and damages to adjacent areas are eliminated. Treatments can be delivered only to the places they are needed and patients are able to recover faster with fewer complications.

Types Of Lasers And Their Uses

A CO2 laser cannot be seen. These lasers are paired with a visible beam of helium-neon to ensure that it is being aimed where it's needed.  The CO2 laser is the most commonly used laser in ear, nose, and throat surgeries. These types of lasers are used by ENT doctors to remove tumors in the nose and throat, to treat cancers of the larynx, perform surgery on the middle ear to improve hearing, and to remove subglottic hemangiomas, masses which develop below the vocal cords, often in children.

A holmium laser is used during laryngeal surgery. This kind of laser can be used to remove nasal polyps and for other surgeries involving the nose and sinuses. The tonsils and adenoids may also be removed using this laser.

Neodymium lasers are used to treat various types of lesions. These lasers may be used to treat lesions that have developed in the esophagus or in the trachea. They can also be used to treat vascular lesions such as port wine stain birthmarks.

An argon laser is used to treat skin lesions. These lasers can also be used in surgeries on the middle ear to help improve a person's hearing.

Potassium-titanyl-phospate lasers are used during sinus surgeries, in surgeries on the middle ear, and in surgeries on the trachea or larynx.  They are sometimes used in the surgical treatment of severe sleep apnea.

Not everyone can have laser surgery. Your surgeon will help you decide if you are a candidate for laser surgery, and what type of laser can be used in your surgery. For more information, contact an ENT specialist like Eastern Carolina Ear Nose & Throat-Head.