Since 1960 (the year of the first successful laser test), laser technology has advanced exponentially. Today, the laser is a multi-faceted and highly versatile tool that has been implemented in a variety of different medical fields. Here are some of the most unique medical uses for laser technology.

Surgical incisions that would be difficult and dangerous to make with a conventional scalpel can be done using a highly focused laser beam. By using a laser scalpel, doctors run less of a risk of making too-deep incisions during delicate surgeries, as lasers always penetrate at the same, constant depth. Lasers also have the advantage of cauterizing broken blood vessels even as they cut through them, preventing excessive blood loss.

Getting a cavity drilled is never a pleasant experience. But by using an Nd-YAG laser instead of a metal drill, some dentists today are making the procedure a lot less painful on their patients. The laser is set at a power level strong enough to remove rotted tissue, but not strong enough to harm healthy tooth enamel.

Cleaning Arteries
Opening the chest cavity to access the heart directly used to be the only way to clean clogged arteries of plaque. Now, doctors can insert a tiny optical fiber array along with a small laser into a person's arm or leg vein. The array travels all the way to the clogged artery, where the plaque is identified and eliminated via laser pulses. This much less invasive procedure avoids the danger of open heart surgery and the painful recovery process that comes after.

Cosmetic Lasers
Cosmetic lasers are used to remove unwanted birth marks and mal-colored skin patches. A laser's monochromatic quality is what makes this procedure possible. Because lasers only come in one color, they can be adjusted to the color that will be absorbed by the patch of skin that's being treated. The laser burns off the discolored skin cells only.

Low Level Laser Therapy
Low level laser therapy is the newest field of medical laser study, and it has just recently begun to gain legitimate acceptance in the medical community. Low level lasers are used to treat ulcers, reduce back pain and neck pain, and treat tendinitis among other things.