Clinical Ultrafast Laser Surgery: Recent Advances and Future Directions

Hoy C. L., Ferhanoglu O., YILDIRIM M., KIM K. H., KARAJANAGI S. S., CHAN K. M. C., ...More

IEEE JOURNAL OF SELECTED TOPICS IN QUANTUM ELECTRONICS, vol.20, no.2, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


Ultrafast pulsed lasers can be used to achieve remarkable precision during surgical ablation. Through nonlinear interactions with tissue, ultrafast lasers can provide a largely non-thermal mechanism of ablation and a unique ability to create targeted damage within bulk tissue. These advantages have made ultrafast lasers the ideal surgical tool for various novel applications in ophthalmology. Clinical adoption of ultrafast lasers in other surgical applications remains limited in part due to the lack of a means for fiber delivery of ultrafast laser pulses as a flexible, hand-held surgical endoscope. This review provides an overview of the recent advances in bringing this unique surgical tool into the clinic. We discuss fundamental mechanisms and limitations of ultrafast laser ablation, novel techniques for overcoming these limitations, the current state of clinical applications, and conclude with our recent efforts in developing fiber-coupled probes for flexible ultrafast laser surgery and imaging.