Lasers in surgical and dental applications

Posted by Steve Rowe on

When the laser was first invented over 60 years ago, hardly anyone envisioned its use in surgical applications. Today, however, the laser has become an indispensable tool for many surgeons and has largely replaced the traditional scalpel in many procedures. High power lasers are widely used, for example, to reshape the cornea to improve sight, to counteract buildup in the arteries, and increase efficiency in cosmetic enhancements for body and dental applications. 

LASIK the most common laser eye surgery

One of the most common eye surgeries of reshaping the cornea is performed with a laser, a technique widely known as LASIK, which stands for Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomilensis. One reason that laser beams are so useful in treating the eye is that the cornea, the coating that covers the eyeball and admits light into the interior of the eye, is transparent. Since it is designed to admit ordinary light, the cornea passes laser light and remains unaffected by the laser beam. A small flap of the cornea is folded back to expose the inner portion of the cornea. The

Optics for lasik, Lasik eye procedure, what is nearsightedness, types of eye problems

excimer laser produces pulses of ultraviolet (UV) light that carefully remove layers of thin tissue from your cornea to correct your vision. Next, the flap is then replaced where it re-attaches to the cornea without stitches. The excimer laser used in LASIK cannot burn your eyes or your skin since the laser is actually cold and does not heat the eye. With close to a million LASIK surgeries each year, the procedure is extremely precise and can be completed in minutes.    

Cleaning arteries with light

Lasers are increasingly used to clean plaque from people’s arteries because of their ability to make access to internal organs easier and safer. Plaque is a tough fatty substance that can build up on the inside walls of the arteries. Eventually, the vessels can get so clogged that blood does not flow normally and the result can be a heart attack, stroke, or both which are serious and sometimes fatal.

Before the use of lasers in surgery, the removal of plaque involved opening the chest and making several incisions; a long and sometimes risky operation requiring weeks for recovery. Today, however, surgeons use a laser beam to burn away the plaque.

The technique involves the insertion of an optical fiber connected to a tiny camera into a blood vessel in an arm or leg. The camera is then moved slowly into the area of the heart and blocked arteries. When the camera is securely in place, a second fiber is inserted to carry the bursts of light that will burn away the plaque. The laser is then fired which breaks up the plaque at the molecular level, and the exhaust vapors are removed through a tiny hollow tube that is inserted along with the optical fibers.

precision optics for laser surgery, lasers to clean arteries, laser surgery, When the artery has been cleaned out, the doctor simply removes the fibers and tube. This process, known as laser atherectomy, has several obvious advantages. First, no incision is needed except for the small one to insert the fibers. Secondly, there is also little or no bleeding, and the patient can enjoy total recovery in a day or two. 

Dental lasers

Dental bleaching, also known as tooth whitening, is a common procedure in general dentistry. Teeth can become stained by bacterial pigments and certain foods. Additionally, ingesting colored liquids like coffee, tea, and red wine can also discolor teeth. The laser whitening procedure involves applying a concentrated whitening gel and a laser to heat it. Light and heat increase the reactivity of the gel (hydrogen peroxide). This activates the chemicals in the gel, which whitens your teeth quickly. Laser teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure and is performed at a dental clinic by a licensed professional. Though it can be costly, results are better and faster than LED teeth whitening kits, whitening pens, and strips. 

All these medical procedures require precise optical components and equipment. Esco Optics has long history providing such components including lenses, optical windows, mirrors and prisms for biomedical devices. Contact us today so we can work together on the next biomedical advancements. 

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →

Quality Optics from a Trusted Supplier

American Owned & Operated

Esco Optics is a leading manufacturer of custom and catalog optics, precision optical components, and ITAR optics in the United States.

Military & Defense Supplier

As the leader for military and defense optics in the United States, Esco Optics adheres to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

ITAR Registered & Compliant

ITAR registered and compliant, Esco manufactures ITAR optics for all of its customers with the strictest confidentiality.