In our quest to improve the comfort and safety of your pets, our veterinary team has invested in laser surgery equipment. Lasers are beams of very powerful light. The power of the laser comes from the fact that the light waves in the laser beam are all synchronized in their movement. Different lasers operate at different wavelengths and therefore have different effects on the tissues of the body.
We employ a laser that is generated from Carbon Dioxide (CO2) because it is the most effective when dealing with soft tissue surgery. The CO2 laser works because the water molecules found in soft tissues absorb its energy. The CO2 laser energy instantly turns the water within the cells into a gas, essentially vaporizing the cells, while leaving the surrounding tissue virtually unaffected.
The laser has the following benefits compared to traditional surgical techniques:
CO2 laser energy automatically seals nerve endings as it moves through tissue. As a result, the patient feels less pain post-operatively. Cats that have been declawed using laser surgery will often times be walking on their feet the same day of surgery!
Laser energy automatically seals small blood vessels as it cuts. Not only does the hemostatic cutting benefit the patient by leading to less blood loss than conventional surgery, but it also provides a clear, dry surgical field for the surgeon. This can lead to shortened surgical time which always improves our safety margin.
Swelling is caused by leakage of fluid out of the lymph vessels. CO2 laser energy automatically seals lymphatic vessels thus reducing swelling significantly. Additionally, because only a beam of invisible light contacts the tissue, there is no bruising or tearing of tissue. This reduced tissue trauma minimizes inflammatory responses, reducing swelling.
The unique ability of a CO2 laser to vaporize (ablate or “erase”) tissue sets it apart from any other surgical tool, even other lasers. The laser can be used to precisely remove tissue layer by layer (with layers as thin as 0. 1 mm), or to aggressively vaporize entire tumors. This method reduces the chance of spread of a tumor into surrounding blood and lymphatic vessels.
Sterilization of the surgical site
Lasers kill all bacteria and viruses they come in contact because they literally vaporize the organisms. This can lead to reduced post-operative complications from infection.
Decreased bleeding, swelling, and pain means the patient can return to normal activity and the home environment faster. This provides benefits for the patient, client and veterinarian.
There are many situations where laser surgery will be our first choice because of its unique properties. These include:
- Feline de-clawing surgery
- Removal of inappropriate eyelashes
- De-vocalization surgery (debarking)
- Nostril enlargement
- Soft palate resection
- Feline stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth)
- Oral tumors
- General tumor removal
- Sterilization surgery (spay and neuter)
As you can see, the many benefits of lasers make them an ideal tool for performing soft tissue surgery. Of course, the cost of the laser equipment and training costs cause the fees for laser surgery to be slightly higher than conventional surgery. We hope you will agree that these nominal increases are well worth the added comfort and safety of your pet.