CO2 laser surgery is one of the newest forms of technology available to veterinarians.
Designed especially for soft tissue surgery, the CO2 laser offers many benefits over traditional surgery and tools.
Less Pain and Bleeding
For starters, CO2 laser surgery causes less pain and bleeding than a cut with a scalpel produces. This is because the laser actually seals nerve endings as it’s cutting, closing blood vessels and preventing excessive blood loss. In fact, many surgeries performed with CO2 lasers are completely bloodless. And as pets wake up and start the recovery process, they’ll experience reduced swelling and bruising.
This process of cauterizing the incision provides other benefits, too:
- It lowers the risk of infection. No open wounds means less risk of bacteria getting into the incision. Plus, the heat of the laser actually kills micro-organisms and acts as an antibacterial agent.
- It allows for a very precise cut. This means the incision is often smaller and there’s less chance of the skin or tissue tearing up around the cut.
Reduced Surgery Time
Also, because the laser is so precise and the cut so easy to manage, many vets find that it reduces the actual surgery time. This is important because it means a reduction in the time spent under general anesthesia and fewer drugs used to keep your pet there. While pets are always closely monitored while sedated, general anesthesia nevertheless presents some risks, so reducing the amount needed during surgery is always a good thing.
Faster Healing Process
If that wasn’t enough, here’s another benefit: quicker healing means less time spent in the hospital. It allows pets to recover quicker from the surgery. With less swelling, less bruising and less risk of infection being present, the chances of complications are smaller and pets experience less discomfort and are up and running much sooner.
Types of CO2 Laser Surgery
- The CO2 laser can be used in all types of soft tissue surgery, both internally and externally. For example, vets can use the laser to remove tumors or cysts on the skin or around organs.
- The laser is a popular choice among vets performing entropion or ectropion eyelid surgery, where excess skin is removed from around the eye to help your pet see better.
- Some types of mouth and throat surgeries respond well to laser use, and vets can use it to perform spay/neuter surgeries.
- The CO2 laser can also be used for declawing cats. Laser declawing offers many advantages over the traditional declawing procedure. For starters, laser declawing is less painful, causes less bleeding, and leads to very little swelling. Cats declawed through laser surgery recover faster and don’t need to have their toes bandaged after surgery. Because the surgery is easier on them, they are also less likely to engage in licking and other behaviors that sometimes occur after regular declawing.
When Is CO2 Laser Surgery the Right Choice?
If your pet is having surgery soon, your vet will discuss with you the option of CO2 laser surgery and whether it’s the right choice for you. Most cases of soft tissue surgery can benefit from the choice of laser over traditional surgery methods, and your vet can explain why it’s a good choice for the type of surgery your pet is having.
While laser surgery might be slightly more expensive than other forms of surgery, you end up saving money on overnight stays, medication, and other costs associated with the procedure. In the end, your overall cost may be very similar to traditional surgery, but you’re providing your pet with a much higher quality of treatment.