Categories: Pet Care
The idea of your pet having surgery can cause anxiety and hesitation. You may be concerned about the effect on your pet’s body, her recovery time, and her pain level during recovery. As animal lovers, we share the same concerns—about your pet and ours—and strive to provide veterinary care that causes minimal tissue damage and discomfort. That’s why we recently added a Cutting Edge CO2 surgical laser to our surgery suite. Laser surgery has been performed in human medicine for decades, and is quickly becoming a great option for care for veterinary medicine.
During traditional surgery, a veterinary surgeon makes incisions with a scalpel blade. During laser surgery, the surgeon uses a surgical laser to make incisions through skin, into body cavities, and through internal tissues. A surgical laser emits a focused light beam that uses heat to cut precisely through tissue, sparing nearby tissues from damage.
The precise incision made with a surgical laser causes less tissue trauma, which results in less post-operative swelling and pain. The laser also cauterizes tissue as it cuts, so less blood is lost, and less surgical time is required to suture bleeding vessels. Your pet’s anesthesia time is reduced, and he/she wakes up faster.
Reduced pain during recovery is the most significant difference laser surgery offers your pet. A study comparing a feline declaw with a blade—which is regarded as a significantly painful procedure—to a declaw with a laser found significantly less post-operative lameness in the cats receiving laser surgery. Many owners see similar results after their own pet’s laser surgery, and are surprised to find their pet feeling like him or herself only a day or so after the procedure.
A surgical laser can be used in place of a scalpel blade in almost any surgical procedure, although it is commonly used for surgeries such as:
As long as a surgical laser is used correctly, there are minimal safety concerns. Surgical lasers produce heat and cut tissue, so we are careful to operate the laser only when we are ready to make an incision. If we use the laser around sensitive tissues, we protect them with surgical drapes or saline-soaked gauze. If the laser beam is directed toward a pet’s—or person’s—eyes, it can cause irreversible damage, such as cataracts and retinal damage, so pets and staff members must wear protective eyewear. The laser produces a small amount of smoke during operation, but our evacuation system quickly suctions it away before it can reach your pet’s airways.
The next time your pet requires surgery, rest assured that we take every possible measure to minimize tissue damage, pain, and recovery time. If your pet needs surgery, and you would like to talk about laser surgery’s benefits, contact our veterinary team.