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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Physics of light and lasers.

Because most laser procedures use the heating effect of the light and given the number of parameters that may be varied--such as power density, power, pulsing, and heating of fiber tips and probes--significant overlap in applications of the various lasers can result. This is readily apparent in the conflicting claims of laser manufacturers seen in promotional materials. Despite this, each type has its strengths. The CO2 laser is a specialty instrument, particularly for microscopic applications in neurosurgery, otolaryngology, and gynecology. Its hemostasis and vaporizing abilities allow its use in dermatology and in general surgery for tumor resection and hemostasis. In gynecology it seems best for colposcopy (cervical and vaginal) and, through a micromanipulator, for laparotomy. The beam is focused and delivered by handpieces and micromanipulators on microscopes. Through the laparoscope, it requires the use of a special laser coupler on a special laser laparoscope to allow for line-of-sight delivery of the beam through the operating channel. Waveguide delivery systems have been introduced for CO2 laser laparoscopy using standard laparoscopes. These function as hollow, slender tubes through which the beam is transmitted by means of hundreds of glancing internal reflections in the tube, which emits the beam at its tip. This eliminates many of the alignment problems of coupler cube-type systems and allows the beam to be delivered close to the target. The Nd:YAG laser is the primary endoscopic instrument in pulmonology, gastroenterology, and urology. The use of contact tips, though not a panacea, increases its applications, particularly in general surgery. Its primary use in gynecology is for endometrial ablation with bare fibers for deep coagulation. Its use for laparoscopy with contact probes or sculpted fibers is quickly growing. Green light lasers (argon and KTP) are color-selective photocoagulators and may be used to cut tissue. They are fiberoptically delivered like the Nd:YAG laser. Their best use in gynecology appears to be a versatile instruments for operative laparoscopy and the simple treatment of endometriosis. A standard quartz fiber with these lasers is usually more versatile than a contact tip with an Nd:YAG laser when used for cutting.[1]


  1. Physics of light and lasers. Absten, G.T. Obstet. Gynecol. Clin. North Am. (1991) [Pubmed]
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