06 Dec 2002
A Germany-based company develops a fiber-delivered high-power laser that it says will revolutionize laser surgery.
Lisa Laser of Germany has developed a fiber-delivered high-power laser for surgical applications that it says will revolutionize laser surgery. According to the company the RevoLix combines the cutting properties of a carbon dioxide source with the haemostatic effect of a Nd:YAG laser and the narrow damage zone of a holmium:YAG.
Lisa Laser managing director Heinrich-Otto Teichmann said: "This 2 micron, continuous-wave medical laser is the first fundamental innovation in laser surgery for more than ten years."
Although the company won't confirm the nature of the diode-pumped solid-state laser's active medium, the quoted emission wavelength of 2.01 micron suggests that it is a thulium-doped YAG crystal.
Ralf Balkenhol, project manager of Lisa's medical laser division, told Optics.org that RevoLix is the first 2 micron, continuous-wave laser to be made available for medical use. The system offers a high power ouput, which can be controlled between 5 and 50 W. It can also be operated in pulsed mode.
"As this is a CW system it works much faster than the holmium laser," Balkenhol said. "It cuts tissue [by vapourization] and has a haemostatic (blood coagulating) effect. Patients [stand to] benefit from a less invasive procedure and shorter stays in hospital as outpatient use seems possible."
Whether the laser system replaces existing laser technology or opens up entirely new applications remains to be seen. Unlike carbon dioxide lasers, which must be delivered with a mirror arm, the shorter wavelength is easily deliverable through a fibre and can therefore be integrated with small endoscopes. Balkenhol says that while RevoLix will replace the holmium:YAG lasers used in urological applications, it could also open up minimally invasive surgeries that have not previously been possible.
In contrast to ruptured cutting edges that can be caused by pulsed operation of holmium lasers, the continuous wave mode evaporates tissue continuously without generating pressure waves, says the company.
Michael Hatcher is technology editor of Opto and Laser Europe magazine.