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Optics in Surgery

Laser/Tissue interaction (or the application of lasers in therapeutic and surgical procedures with human tissue) has become more common in recent years. However, not until now have procedures become so refined as to allow doctors the opportunity to substitute a laser for so many different medical/surgical instruments and procedures.

The diagrams below outline some of the different types of lasers being employed in surgery and where they fall within the electromagnetic spectrum:

Sphere with rays drawn perpendicular to the surface intersect at the center of the sphere
Aberrated wavefront focus to a different point

By comparing the wavefront of the electromagnetic radiation with the reference sphere, it is possible to determine what aberrations are present in an image and how severe they are.

Spherical aberrations result in paraxial and peripheral rays having different foci.

In these videos, YAG lasers are being used help revive and revascularize sections of the human heart that were previously dying, and thus life-threatening.

Simulated heart surgery

Simulated heart surgery
(978k Quicktime movie)

Actual heart surgery

Actual heart surgery
(3MB Quicktime movie)

The goal of this type of operation is to stimulate the dying heart and ultimately improve the quality of the patient’s life.

Contributor: CardioGenesis Corp., Patrick Domkowski