A diagram of the laser scalpel's optical system (Image: Ben-Yakar Group, University of Texas at Austin)
An image taken with the probe’s two-photon fluorescence microscope shows cells in a 70-micrometer thick piece of vocal cord from a pig (Image: Ben-Yakar Group, University of Texas at Austin)
The practice of surgically removing diseased or damaged tissue within the body is something of a trade-off – quite often, some of the surrounding healthy tissue will also end up being removed in the process. In highly-sensitive areas such as the brain or spinal cord, where a fraction of a millimeter either way can have huge consequences, sometimes surgery is deemed to be just too risky. A newly-developed endoscopic laser “scalpel,” however, looks like it could lower those risks considerably.
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