The laser already existed as a well developed concept long before it existed as an actual, real instrument. Albert Einstein, among others, was already exploring laser theory when he wrote his paper on The Quantum Theory of Radiation in 1917. But even after the first laser was successfully tested in 1960, people were uncertain as to whether light could actually be used as a physical tool for surgeries and other medical procedures. But it's been almost five full decades since the invention of the laser, and the invention has proven to be one of the most revolutionary tools in the fields of medical surgery. The laser's unique physical properties and its ability to be focused for extreme accuracy have made it invaluable.

The most commonly recognized field in which lasers have made a tremendous impact is the field of ophthalmology, or eye surgery. The excimer laser, specifically, was crucial in exponentially advancing the possibilities of eye surgery. The exicmer was invented in 1970 by ophthalmologist Nikolai Basov. Rather than burn through tissue, the excimer laser aims enough energy at a target in order to break up the bonds that hold tissue together, without damaging surrounding structures. With this tool, ophthalmologists can remove and make changes to ultra-thin layers of eye tissue without causing harm to the rest of the eye.

Lasers are used also in the capacity of ultra-precise surgical scalpels during especially delicate procedures that require exact incisions such as liposuction laser treatments. Carbon dioxide lasers are the most common laser scalpels. They are very precise and will cut at the same depth all the way through. Metal scalpels, on the other hand, run the risk of accidentally cutting too deeply. Lasers also have the added advantage of automatically cauterizing open blood vessels eve as it cuts through them, thus preventing unnecessary, and potentially dangerous, blood loss.

The progress of laser technology has also made certain surgeries unnecessary. Cleaning clogged arteries, for example, traditionally required open heart surgery. With miniature laser technology, however, doctors can insert a small laser into a patient's vein via a tiny, optical fiber array. They can then guide this array through the vein to reach the desired artery, at which point the laser can be fired and destroy the harmful plaque.