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Special report: Surgical lasers

by Carol Ko, Staff Writer | August 13, 2013
From the August 2013 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine


“By using light energy, the drop-off is very quick so that the border between the killed and completely untouched is minimal,” says North Shore’s Mehta.

But more than the laser itself, what makes this technology particularly effective is its fusion with MRI.

In essence, surgeons must perform controlled brain damage, destroying the lesion without affecting healthy neighboring areas. With MRI-guided laser technology, doctors are able to see a live image of the patient’s brain as they perform laser ablation. MRI is an ideal modality for this procedure because it’s not only good at imaging soft brain tissue, it’s also highly sensitive to temperature changes, meaning doctors can monitor the areas of the brain treated and heated by the laser in real time.

“Previously, you wouldn’t know until afterward how effective the treatment was, so the tendency was to undertreat it. But now you can immediately fix that by adding treatment on,” says Dr. Jeffrey Ojemann – director of epilepsy surgery at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Many eggs, many baskets
For patient Dana Lockwood, the recovery wasn’t very difficult. He was temporarily paralyzed on his left side—a common side effect, doctors reassured him—but he quickly found himself back on his feet. “Ultimately, the most difficult part of it was getting the general anesthesia out of my system,” he said.

Researchers are lauding the technology as a potential game changer for epilepsy, opening up treatment possibilities for patients who otherwise would have had few options. But as other new technologies continue to evolve and come to market, this technology may be in head-to-head competition with other cutting edge techniques.

“The laser will probably be part of epilepsy treatment going forward, but I would be cautious to put all my eggs in the basket of one particular form of energy delivery,” says Ojemann. For example, he cites some promising studies in Israel investigating HIFU ultrasound technology that noninvasively targets and destroys tissue. “I don’t get bonded as a practitioner to one system or another — whoever wins the battle to get the best clinical results is who you want to go with,” he says.

Click here to check out the DOTmed New Equipment Guide for surgical and cosmetic lasers.

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Names in boldface are Premium Listings.
Domestic

Sciton, Robert Ruck Palo Alto CA

Vita Medical Technologies, Douglas Greif , San Diego, CA

Eastern Surgical Company Thomas Merolla, Denver, CO

Clear Choice Medical, Scott Scholl ,
Seminole, FL

Laser Labs, Inc. David Spirko , Tampa, FL

Dornier Medtech Diego Picchetti , Kennesaw, GA

MedPro, Inc. Mike Moreno , Marlton, NJ

Asher Haley Surgical, Inc., Joseph Wydra Mullica Hill, NJ

Laser Tech, Ronen Betzlal , Tenafly, NJ

Parts4Laser, Edona Gjonbalaj , Tenafly, NJ

KDW Laser, Tony Qian , Setauket, NJ

Laser Concepts Dan Herbert , Dallas, TX

Laser Scientific, John Crownover , Round Rock, TX

Phase 2 Laser - Powered by Sentient, Eric Graham , Kamas, UT


International
Northern Optotronics, Inc., Brad Poirier , Ontario, Canada

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