In this article, a surgical CO2 laser was used to treat a dog’s elbow follicular cysts. Follicular cysts are caused by keratin trapped in a hair follicle, and they are often associated with swelling, inflammation, pain, and secondary infection. This laser procedure can ablate multiple layers of cysts and adjacent hair follicles with minimal bleeding and minimal thermal damage to the surrounding healthy tissue.
Three months prior to the surgery described here, a 10-year-old female spayed tortoiseshell cat was presented for a large swelling in the neck. Approximately 300 cc of clear, thin, amber fluid was aspirated, and a representative sample was sent to an outside diagnostic laboratory for fluid analysis, the results of which were unremarkable.
11-year-old male miniature schnauzer, was presented for chronic inflammation, severe swelling and ulceration of P3 on the right forelimb, digit 3. It appeared that the claw on the affected digit caused the patient significant discomfort and pain, provoking him to constantly bite and lick the site, aggravating the inflammation…
In my clinic, I use the flexible hollow waveguide fiber CO2 laser to surgically remove soft tissue growths. This technology allows ablating tumors quickly, providing control over intraoperative bleeding. Another benefit of laser surgery is that there is no need to close the surgical site in case of superficial cutaneous lesions. Moreover, the laser allows treating multiple lesions during a single visit, as in one of the cases described in this article.
The CO2 laser provides the surgeon with the superior ability to control the fluence by easily changing spot sizes, power settings and to switch between continuous wave to SuperPulse modes; because of this the surgeon has excellent control to remove abnormal tissue and to avoid unnecessary damage to healthy adjacent structures. This laser benefit is especially prominent in delicate areas, such as eyelids.
David D. Duclos, DVM, a board-certified veterinary dermatologist, has more than 20 years of experience with CO2 laser surgery. As the first veterinarian who has used VetScalpel, the newest 45 Watt surgical CO2 laser system with 30 Watts of SuperPulse, Dr. Duclos shares his unique insight.
Results indicate that the use of CO2 laser in surgery surpasses the conventional scalpel, by lowering the nociceptive system stimulation, decreasing the autonomic nervous system activity and stabilizing the hemodynamic clinical signs, which in turn promote reduced anesthetic consumption and thus offer greater safety to the patient.
One of the primary benefits of the CO2 laser procedure includes a virtual elimination of bleeding, which allows for full visualization of the large masses, obtaining wide and appropriate surgical margins and providing a cosmetically pleasing, limb sparing procedure.
In our clinic, the Aesculight CO2 laser is always utilized for the correction of urethral prolapse. Compared to scalpel surgery, the greatest benefit of using the laser for this procedure is the efficient hemostasis in this richly vascularized area. In addition, the lack of a tourniquet makes this surgery less traumatic to the penile tissue.
Considering the numerous advantages of the CO2 laser, such as benefits for veterinary personnel and patients, as well as its efficiency and predictable outcomes, the laser is a better alternative to conventional surgery for equine cutaneous tumor removal.
A CO2 laser cauterizes blood vessels up to 0.5 millimeters in diameter as it incises, allowing excellent visualization of the tissues as the surgery proceeds. The precise incision and hemostasis control the laser provides are especially valuable when care must be taken to watch out for and preserve delicate structures.