Laser therapy is any treatment using intense beams of light to precisely cut, burn, or destroy tissue. The term laser is an acronym for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation."
The laser light beam comes from radiation sources so small and safe that it poses no health risks to the patient or medical team.
Lasers can be used for many medical purposes. Because the laser beam is so small and precise, it allows doctors to safely treat tissue without injuring the surrounding area. Lasers may be used to remove growths or cauterize blood vessels.
Lasers may also be used during the following procedures:
- Treatment of varicose veins
- Corneal eye surgery to improve vision
- Repair of a retinal detachment
- Treatment of diabetic eye disease (retinopathy)
- Removal of the prostate
- Removal of kidney stones
- Laser surgery of the skin
Garrett CG, Ossoff RH, Reinisch L. Laser surgery: basic principles and safety considerations. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 3.
Review Date: 8/14/2012
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.