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Lasers in Medicine


A whole range of medical procedures now rely on the use of lasers and in many cases we are not even aware of the fact that a laser is being used to treat us.  Current figures suggest that we are currently only using laser to around 15-20% of its capabilities in medicine, with new procedures and adaptations of laser treatment evolving on a monthly basis.

Many Doctors now believe that laser based treatments will not only revolutionise the way we treat cancer but also save the NHS money.

LASER stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

Laser are concentrated beams of light traveling in a particular direction which makes them different from normal light in that the light waves are traveling in harmony and usually at one particular wavelength or colour (monochromatic). The specific wavelength is determined by the amount of energy that is released when atomic particles are excited with in a laser generator system. This initial energy then undergoes multiple reflection resulting  in amplification of the light source and giving rise to LASER.

Although the concept was theorized by Albert Einstein in 1917, it was not until 1960 that Theodor Maiman produced the first working laser, with it being used one year later in an American hospital to destroy an eye tumour. And so began the medical revolution.

Most people think of laser as a continuous beam of light. This is ‘continuous wave’ mode but we now have laser that can be operated in a pulsed mode i.e. switched on and off very quickly. A pulsed beam of light is extremely useful in medical applications and means we can ensure a far more peak power than in continuous wave mode.

Due to the nature of laser light, laser can deliver a very precise amount of energy at a precise frequency (and wavelength), which is particular useful in medicine. Depending on the type of laser, the beam of energy can be used to cut tissue better than the sharpest of scalpels, coagulate blood or it can shrink or totally destroy tissues.

We utilise laser in medicine by selecting  the wavelength of the laser light; because different wavelengths of laser light are absorbed differently in human tissue. This is because certain targets in the body (known as ‘chromophores’) can absorb specific laser energy at a specific wavelength, without damaging the surrounding tissue. These chromophores include water, melanin and haemoglobin.

Current research shows that the shorter wavelengths are absorbed in the pigmented tissues, such as melanin, whilst the longer wavelengths are absorbed in water. By selecting the correct wavelength of laser and thereby targeting these particular chromophores, the laser energy can heat them to a point where they are destroyed.  These properties of the lasers enable medical lasers to be used in the treatment of hair removal, tattoo removal, thread vein removal and pigmentation treatments.

With in cosmetic surgery, the longer wavelength lasers are being used for the removal of fine lines and wrinkles, due to the longer wavelength of light penetrating deeper into the skin. Beyond a certain wavelength the laser energy is absorbed by water, and so the first water cell that the laser meets absorbs the energy which makes a medium like erbium ideal for skin resurfacing. Technically, this works as a result of the laser energy being absorbed by the water cell and the water completely evaporating from within the cell; causing the skin treated to shrink and shrivel and stimulating the production of new younger-looking firmer skin.

Laser have uses in many other aspects of medicine and one of the main area currently being Dermatology. Laser are used in dermatology fro the treatment of: Acne, Age spots & sun discolouration, Birthmarks, superficial lesions, freckles, fine lines and wrinkles, haemangioma, port wine stains, rosacea, scars, tattoo removal, unwanted hair, veins and verrucas.

Laser are also widely used in Dentistry for the treatment of: apthae and herpes, cavity preparation, gum disease, root canal treatment, sensitive teeth, soft tissue surgery and teeth whitening.

Aesthetics treatments such as: hair removal, tattoo removal, vascular treatments, Wrinkle reduction, anti-aging therapies, pigmented lesions and acne are also now heavily dependent on Laser procedures.

Ongoing development of Laser treatments are now occurring in a vast array of other medical branches, including Gynaecology and a vast array of surgical procedures.

Select from the links below for information on specific treatment areas:
[Leg Vein Button]     [Hyperhidrosis]     [Dental Button]
[Aesthetics button]   :-    [LIPOSUCTION BUTTON]    [Hair Button]    [Tattoo Button]