Laser surgery is less painful than standard blade surgery because it seals nerve endings as it moves through the tissue. There is much less bleeding because it seals smaller blood vessels as it “cuts”. This makes some procedures faster since we don’t spend as much time trying to control bleeding. Finally, there is much less swelling since it doesn’t crush, tear or bruise (less trauma), and it seals lymphatics.
The risk of infections lessens as the laser beam sterilizes as diseased tissues are removed. The precision is very great and the beam can “see” through tissue planes. Return to normal is hastened because there is less post-operative discomfort.
Probably the most dramatic improvement we have seen is the recovery time on feline declaws. We have had a few cases that were operated and sent home within three hours of being admitted, showing no signs of pain or discomfort and no bleeding, no wraps, and no tourniquets. Routine neuters and spays also benefit from this modality.
Tumors, lumps and bumps are much easier to remove and healing is uneventful. Malignancies are better dealt with, as there is less risk of “seeding” the area with cancer cells, because they are destroyed with the laser beam.
The “snoring” problem seen with brachycephalic (short-nosed) dogs is another area easily amenable to the laser. Snoring and snorting are caused by an elongated soft palate in the roof of the mouth. This condition can lead to heart problems and shorten the life span of the animal. Before the laser, these dogs were seldom operated because it was a difficult, bloody and risky procedure. Now the surgery is a very short and easy procedure and these animals can go home the same day. If the nostrils are stenotic (closed), they can be operated at the same time.
There are many other conditions, too numerous to discuss on this page, that respond beautifully to laser surgery. If in doubt, ask if a given problem may benefit from laser surgery.