Surgical laser, not to be confused with therapeutic laser, is the use of highly concentrated, coherent laser light to remove tissue. This technology has rapidly advanced in recent years and offers an important alternative to traditional surgery with a scalpel.
There are many different kinds of lasers that have been used in both human and veterinary medicine. One of the most common is the CO2 (carbon dioxide) laser, which is useful for many different kinds of procedures for cats and dogs. The intense energy in the laser beam not only vaporizes the water surrounding target tissue, it quickly cuts away at the target tissue. Because the laser is very precise, it has little effect on nearby tissue. Furthermore, laser surgery tends to produce less bleeding, minimizes swelling, cuts surgery time, and usually causes less pain than traditional surgery.
At St. Matthews, we use laser technology extensively for many procedures, including feline declawing—a much more humane practice because it results in less swelling and bleeding, so cats recover quicker. This has been verified by our own clinical experience. In one instance, a St. Matthews clinician declawed her own cat—one paw traditionally and the others using laser surgery. The paw with the laser surgery healed with less swelling! We can also use laser surgery for many other routine surgeries, where it can take the place of the scalpel while also cauterizing the wound as it cuts so it is less painful for the animal.
Laser surgery is also very useful for many superficial issues such as removing warts. In fact, the list of procedures that are candidates for laser surgery is growing daily. Contact us to learn more about laser surgery options at St. Matthews Animal Clinic.