Laser surgery allows for minimally invasive management of throat, nose, and tracheal lesions. Laser surgery previously was only performed in the operating room, but due to recent advances in technology of both lasers and endoscopes, surgeons can now perform laser surgery with a patient awake.
Laser surgery is performed for:
Lasers used in-office include
Pulse Dye Laser
Carbon Dioxide laser
The word laser stands is an acronym that stands for
A laser works by exciting a medium, which is what the title of the laser is – either carbon dioxide gas, dye solution, or even gold. The medium is excited and energy is emitted. That energy is harvested to treat diseases.
In common, each of these lasers transmit energy through a fiberoptic bundle. This is important as the energy can be passed through a channel of a laryngoscope and directed towards the area of interest be it the nose, throat, larynx, or trachea. Each laser preferentially targets a specific type of molecule. For example energy from a carbon dioxide laser is preferentially absorbed by water molecules which is plentiful in the body.
Previously lasers commonly used in head and neck surgery were not able to be applied using a fiber. However with this technological advance, and advances in endoscopes, laser surgery in the awake patient is a reality.
Patients are seated, and not sedated with an IV or oral medication. Lidocaine is used to numb the nose and throat. Everyone in the room wears laser safe goggles, and an endoscope is placed through the nose. Endoscopes are channeled, which means that they have a small port for administration of a laser fiber. The fiber is advanced to the diseased tissue and energy is applied to the tissue.