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Carbon Dioxide Laser (C02 Laser) - How Does it work?

The word Laser is expand as: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.They work by bouncing and amplifying light between lenses and mirrors to produce an intense beam of light, which is coherent and monochromatic. The material(s) within the laser that are stimulated determines the wavelength of the light produced.

The CO 2 laser was one of the earliest lasers to be developed and is still one of the most useful. CO2 laser i.e. Carbon Dioxide Laser, has been used by medical professionals. The CO2 laser system can be used in several ways: "focused" for cutting skin without bleeding; "defocused" for superficially vaporizing skin; and "ultra pulsed" for facial resurfacing. This technique removes fine lines and wrinkles of the face, smoothes acne scars, and rejuvenates aging and sun-damaged skin as it contours the skin surface.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers work by sending out a concentrated beam of light that affects the skin. Carbon dioxide lasers are the highest power continuous wave lasers that are currently available. The output power to pump power ratio of this laser is up to 20%. This means that if you put in 1W of pump power you could produce 0.2W of laser power. The CO2 laser has high efficiency. The CO 2 laser produces a beam of infrared light with the principal wavelength bands centering around 9.4 and 10.6 micrometers .

Carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers can remove a very thin layer of tissue from the surface of the skin without removing deeper layers. The CO2 laser may be used to remove skin cancers and some precancerous cells.

The active laser medium of CO2 laser, is a gas discharge which is air cooled. The filling gas within the discharge tube consists primarily of:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) (around 10-20 %) CO 2 is a molecule with 3 atoms, the middle atom is carbon.
  • Nitrogen (N 2 ) (around 10-20%)
  • Hydrogen (H 2 ) and/or (Xe)
  • Helium (He) (The remainder of the gas mixture)

Advantages of the CO 2 laser:

These includes:-

  • By using CO2 laser, there will be short depth of tissue absorption.
  • Minimum coagulation occur, by the application of CO2 laser.
  • You may have the feeling of leses pain, when using CO2 laser. This reduction in pain is a result of the unique characteristics of the laser beam as it cuts nerve endings, preventing the raw ends typical to scalpel incisions.
  • There is a little bit swellinf of the skin. Because the laser beam effectively cauterizes the lymphatic system, there is much less postoperative swelling.
  • There are very less chances to get affected by infection. The CO2 laser sterilizes the infected area as it removes diseased tissue, leaving healthy tissue undamaged.

How does the Carbon Dioxide Laser work?

The CO2 lasers delivers short bursts of extremely high-energy laser light. This technology actually vaporizes the undesired skin tissue one layer at a time, revealing fresh skin underneath. Often referred to as a pulsed CO2 laser, the laser's highly focused beam enables the dermatologic surgeon to gently remove the skin's surface with a lower risk of scarring and other complications in properly selected patients. Healing generally occurs over a two-month period. 

With the help of CO2 laser, we can treat the following types of cancer. These includes:-

  • vocal cord
  • cervical
  • skin
  • lung