The 2 micron wavelength coupled with the continuous-wave output of the thulium laser offers the perfect blend of vaporization and hemostasis for prostate surgery and a number of other applications. Prostatic tissue can be quickly and efficiently vaporesected with the thulium laser with highly effective hemostasis that provides a blood-free field. The continuous-wave mode causes no tissue fragmentation or excessive bubbles further contributing to a clear field of vision for the surgeon.
Surgeons experienced in laser surgery appreciate the rapid vaporization and the ability to vaporesect tissue. Research has shown that incidental cancer discovered from analysis of TURP chips occurs in over 11% of patients. In consideration of this point, the recovery of samples for pathology is obviously an important benefit. The ability to vaporesect tissue also speeds the procedure time making the treatment of large glands feasible.
The 2-micron thulium wavelength is highly absorbed by water which means that energy will not travel in an aqueous environment more than 2 mm beyond the tip of the fiber. Compared with the KTP green-light laser, this provides a much higher level of safety from accidental damage to distant tissue caused by stray laser light.
Another important economic benefit of the thulium laser derives from the fact that the thulium laser allows the use of reusable forward-firing laser fibers. The expensive side-firing fibers used with KTP or holmium lasers are single use. Sometimes side-firing fibers do not even last for one procedure further driving up the operating costs.
In addition to saving on fiber expense, holmium lasers are solid-state meaning that they will have a higher level of reliability and lower overall maintenance costs compared with other lasers.
Further value is afforded by the fact that thulium lasers are highly versatile and have application across a wide spectrum of clinical uses.