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What Does a Laser Surgeon Do?

Laser sugeons work with eyes.
Laser surgery is commonly used to treat certain eye problems.
Lasers are seen as an alternative to a traditional scalpel in surgical procedures.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2014
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A laser surgeon is a surgeon who conducts procedures with the use of a laser. Lasers can be used in a wide variety of medical procedures on both humans and animals, and surgeons who work with lasers can pursue certification from professional organizations which promote high standards in the field of laser surgery. Laser surgery is not, however, a medical specialty; rather, it is a surgical technique which relies heavily on a very unique tool, and it is performed across a broad spectrum of medical specialties.

Several medical fields have benefited tremendously from the development of lasers suitable for medical applications. In dermatology, lasers are used for things like skin resurfacing, laser hair removal, removal of scars and unwanted birthmarks, and tattoo removal. Ophthalmology has also benefited from the development of medical lasers, with lasers being used in eye procedures like LASIK to correct vision problems. Lasers are also used by a laser surgeon in therapeutic treatment of a variety of medical conditions.

Laser surgeons can also use lasers as an alternative to the traditional scalpel in surgical procedures. Laser surgery creates less blood loss and less trauma around the wound site, which reduces healing times for patients and can reduce postoperative pain and discomfort. Many surgeons offer laser surgery as part of their services, and some use lasers exclusively in their work, depending on the type of surgery they perform, their personal preferences, and where they trained.

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A patient who is interested in having a surgical procedure performed with a laser should discuss the option with a doctor. Laser surgery is not an option for all patients and all medical conditions, but when it is, a doctor can provide a referral to a laser surgeon. When selecting a laser surgeon, patients should look for a surgeon with a certification from a professional organization, established experience in laser surgery, and a good track record with surgical procedures.

To become a laser surgeon, a doctor must choose a medical specialty of interest, ranging from ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgery to veterinary surgery, and complete his or her medical education, ideally in a facility which offers training to surgeons who want to work with lasers so that the doctor gets a chance to work with lasers as early as possible. After the completion of medical studies, the doctor can pursue additional training and eventual certification with lasers, learning about laser safety, the applications of laser surgery, and how to educate patients about using lasers in surgical procedures.

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