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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

IsraMedTech: Carbon Lasers Sealing New Wounds

Often seen as a force of destruction in Hollywood, lasers are often used by the medical community in a range of fields from correcting eyesight to fixing teeth to even cosmetic plastic surgery.

Its no surprise then that doctors have even turned to using lasers (with "a dash" of carbon dioxide) to help seal up wounds as they could help minimize scarring around tissue.

Unfortunately for them, these CO2 lasers were a bit too wild as they either put out too much power (burning the victim) or too little (leaving the wound open for infection).

Fortunately for us, it looks as if Israeli researchers from the Tel Aviv University found a way to control the CO2 lasers, making this technology not only practical but potentially safe as well.

(Israel 21st Century) The scientists, from Tel Aviv University (TAU), have developed a new technique that maintains the heat of the laser at exactly the right temperature for optimal wound healing, allowing surgeons to seal cuts both on our skin and inside our bodies with less scarring, and less exposure to infection.

The new technique, developed by Prof. Abraham Katzir and a team from TAU's Applied Physics Group, is called laser-welding. When the laser begins to overheat and risks burning the tissue, the device reduces laser power, and if the temperature is too low to complete a closure, laser power in increased appropriately. [...]

Katzir is the first researcher to apply the carbon dioxide laser, coupled to optical fibers, for wound closure under a tight temperature control. His innovation is in the use of unique optical fibers made from silver halide developed at the university. The fibers deliver the laser's energy to heat the bonded cut and are used for controlling the temperature. They also make it possible to bond tissues inside the body.
Katzir's "little" invention could have a gigantic impact in the medical field, as Katzir's carbon lasers in a clinical trial proved to be better than the traditional suture as they not only left less scarring, but healed much more quickly.

According to the article the carbon laser is still awaiting approval from the US (via the FDA), although it may unfortunately be a few years before this innovative technology reaches America (not to mention Europe as well).

Image: Carbon laser. Credit: Wikipedia

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