WHAT IS the laser's future?
John Parrish, MD, professor of dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, and director, Wellman Research Laboratories, is among those who are pondering that question. He observes that, until recently, physicians had to adapt laser systems originally designed for industry to meet medical needs.
Now, he says, increased knowledge of laser-tissue interactions is making possible laser technology to meet specific medical applications. Myron L. Wolbarsht, PhD, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, adds that now surgeons can hope to optimize the laser's effects by specifying wavelength, pulse duration, peak power, and beam characteristics.
"We will see in the future," he predicts, "that a surgeon will have a choice of a laser that is tailored to a specific purpose or the use of a combination of lasers that can be changed in the course of the operation as the need for ablation, coagulation, or tissue bonding arises."