Commonly used since the 1960s, Carbon Dioxide Laser Surgery is a very common form of minimally invasive surgery. One of the earliest gas lasers developed, the CO2 laser still remains one of the most efficient and is the highest powered continuous wave laser available.
The CO2 laser has many valuable properties above traditional surgical tools. It has the ability to make a very small incision which can keep the surgical site small. As the laser makes its way through tissues, it cauterizes blood vessels creating a cleaner and more easily viewable surgical site for the surgeon. This allows for less post-surgical swelling. The laser also causes less surgical and post-surgical pain due to the fact that it seals nerve endings as it cuts.
The CO2 laser beam is very hot and kills microbes reducing the chance of infection. All of these valuable elements allow for a quicker recovery. The CO2 laser absorbs water so we mostly use it for surgery on soft tissues with a higher water content.
CO2 laser is particularly well suited for declaw procedures on cats. Since it seals the blood vessels as it cuts, there is no need for the use of a tourniquet or pressure bandages. The CO2 laser declaw surgeries are usually bloodless surgeries with significantly less pain than traditional surgeries.
We know that the decision to perform surgery is a challenging and sometimes stressful one. Our practice works with you to evaluate the best option for your pet so that you can feel at ease with your decision. We first review all medical history, and use the most efficient diagnostic tools available. Open communication is important and we’ll gladly discuss all of the possible benefits or drawbacks of CO2 laser surgery and address any concerns you may have.
Once you decide upon surgery, we will review the details with you so you can prepare your pet and yourself for what to expect. We will also discuss how to best care for your pet during recovery and what may be required in terms of home care, temporary lifestyle modification and follow up visits.
We commonly hear concerns about anesthesia. For CO2 laser surgery, our practice uses general anesthesia. To ensure that your pet is fit to handle general anesthesia, we perform a full physical exam before surgery along with blood work evaluating their ability to metabolize the medications required. During the entire surgery, we closely monitor your pet’s oxygen saturation and carbon dioxide levels in their blood along with blood pressure, heart rate, rhythm and temperature. We also keep a close eye on them during the recovery process.
If your pet undergoes CO2 laser surgery as part of cancer treatment, our practice will discuss with you how the surgery fits in with your pet’s larger treatment plan and how best to care for them overall.