I have been very pleased with my purchase of the Aesculight 30 watt CO2 laser. There is no doubt that it is a great addition to my practice. I have been pleasantly surprised to find excellent client acceptance of the technology. The first month I used the laser, I did not perform a single procedure without a laser. Since, clients still opt for use of the laser >90% of the time. Clients already understand that laser is better – even in predominantly blue collar area.
The small size of the handpiece and the flexibility of the wave guide make using the laser as comfortable and easy as holding an ink pen. The metal laser tube allows for movement of the laser between two locations. However, this may not last very long – client demand for the laser will likely necessitate purchase of an additional laser.
The laser has definitely improved how surgery is performed. I have already had several cases that would have been challenging using traditional surgery techniques. However, the laser made these procedures much better. One example is a sublingual mass that was excised from a cat. Traditional techniques make this surgery challenging. However, using the laser, the surgery was blood free – improving visualization during the procedure as well as reducing likelihood of post-operative hemorrhage (this patient had none). The scanning technique allowed for much improved debulking of the mass. I was able to remove one layer at a time until I reached the major vasculature of the tongue – removing much more diseased tissue that would have been possible using a scalpel with less danger of compromising blood flow to the tongue. I was then amazed at how well the patient did post-operatively. This patient had not eaten for several days prior to the surgery. After the procedure, he drank and ate as soon as I put a dish in front of hm.
I considered whether to purchase the 20 watt versus the 30 watt laser. I am glad I went with the 30 watt version. My standard setting for skin incision is 15 watts continuous wave, superpulse with a 0.4 mm tip. This power setting is not achievable with the 20 watt version. I have heard of other Veterinarians having problems with inflammation around the incision and post-operative complications. I have not seen this at all. The research that I have read supports my clinical assessment that higher power settings are better for the patient. They provide more efficient tissue ablation, reduced “sawing” action, and less peripheral tissue heating as well as faster hand piece movement and reduced surgical time.
As you can tell from my description, I am excited about my laser. Many new technologies are available to add to a practice. Most of these have to be put into the “neat new toy” category. However, the laser is no doubt a tool instead of a toy. It is used every day, enhances the way all surgery is performed – both for the surgeon as well as the patient, and it actually pays for itself.