What Is a Laser Scalpel?

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  • Written By: Jennifer Long
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2019
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A laser scalpel is a type of scalpel used in certain types of surgery. It uses the energy that a laser light produces to cut living tissue. There are different types of lasers used for different purposes. Common types of laser scalpels include ones that use high pressure water, carbon dioxide, ultraviolet light, and free electrons.

In soft tissue surgery, a laser scalpel that relies on water is often used. Surgeries that would require these kinds of laser scalpels include blood vessel repair and areas that require tiny incisions. The beam can be adjusted to suit different purposes. A focused beam is used for small incisions and a more concentrated intensity. Defocusing the beam reduces its intensity and can be used to stop vessels from bleeding.

A carbon dioxide laser scalpel is known as a gas laser. These lasers have a powerful continuous wave. It produces infrared light for the laser beam. Carbon dioxide laser scalpels can be used in cosmetic procedures, such as dermabrasion and resurfacing. They can also be used in surgical procedures that require the removal of tissue abnormalities, such as polyp or skin tag removal.


An ultraviolet laser scalpel, also known as an excimer laser, is another type of laser used in medical procedures. The excimer laser is most commonly used in optical procedures. It is used to change or correct vision by reshaping the cornea. These procedures are commonly chosen by people who want to avoid glasses or contact lenses and permanently change vision imperfections.

Similar to an excimer laser, a free electron laser scalpel can be used for eye surgery. It can also be used in other soft tissue surgeries including those involving brain tissue and skin. A free electron scalpel produces electron beams that are relativistic. This means that the electrons are moving at speeds close to the speed of light. The beam moves through a magnetic field.

There are several different types of laser scalpels, but there are also several variations within these types. A laser scalpel has three different types of wave concentration. The laser beam can have a pulsing, rapid pulsing, or a continuous beam. Each of these concentrations has a purpose; the type of beam concentration plays a large role in the strength of the laser and what it can be used for.

Although the use of a laser scalpel has many surgical uses, this type of scalpel has other uses as well. Laser micro-scalpels are often used in cellular biology in cases that require individual cells to be cut. Laser scalpels are also used in industrial settings for tasks such as engraving, welding, and cutting.


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