The information provided by Advanced Healthcare for Women and E. Daniel Biggerstaff, III, M.D. is for informational purposes only. As each woman is unique, do not rely on this information for diagnosis and treatment. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the content and advise that you see a qualified Health Care Professional for individual needs and care.
What is laser? It is a special form of light that has many uses including measuring distances, cutting and destroying substances, aiming at objects (can be used as a pointer), and numerous forms of entertainment, among other uses. The following illustrates laser light for entertainment.
LASER is an acronym that stands for: Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emision of Radiation.
Laser light is different from the kind of light we encounter on a daily basis, such as sunlight or light from a light bulb. While light from a light bulb is a combination of all of the wavelengths of visible colors, laser light is a single wavelength of color. It may be an infrared wavelength (a wavelength that is longer or below what the human eye can see). Laser light may be in the visible spectrum of light -- such as the red dot that is used as a pointer in presentations -- or it may be in the ultraviolet spectrum that is shorter or above what the human eye can see.
Collimation is another characteristic of laser light. All waves of laser light are parallel to one another. Collimation can be compared to water coming out of a hose with a nozzle that produces a very narrow and strong stream of water. A light bulb on the other hand produces light that is diffuse, going in all directions, like water in a fountain.
The third characteristic of laser light that makes it unique is coherence. Not only are the waves of light parallel to one another, the individual waves are also in sync (the peaks and valleys of the light waves are exactly aligned).
How is laser used in surgery?
The effect of the laser depends on several factors. The first is the chosen wavelength of the laser. Certain tissues absorb certain wavelengths of laser light better than others. Some laser wavelengths will pass through water, while others will not (some tissues, such as fat, have a high water content.) This impacts how effective the laser is in cutting through the tissue. The power of the laser (wattage), the diameter of the laser beam, and the type of laser pulse determine the result of the laser. The laser pulse may be continuous or intermittent (repetitive). The Ultrapulse™ Laser that Dr. Biggerstaff uses has a wavelength in the ultraviolet spectrum, a high power, a small laser-beam diameter, and a very high repetition rate. The end result is a very precise instrument that can cut through tissue in an exacting manner, literally cell layer by cell layer.