Lasers Safety aspects
Lasers and intense pulsed light systems continue to advance rapidly in technology and applications. Serious consideration must be given to the correct selection, installation, training and use of the equipment. Many hazards exist with laser use, including electrical,mechanical, chemical, biological, optical and firehazards as well as concerns with regards to toxic effect of laser plume. Control measures should be implemented to minimize these hazards in accordance with legislation and common sense, and protective equipment that is available should be used and maintained appropriately. It is recommended that a laser safety policy and procedure be written in each institution using lasers to treat patients. Laser safety warning signs should be placed on the door of any operating room using laser prior to usage. These signs should include the type and power of the laser being used.
The first aspect is the device safety.During the laser operation the actual power output must be supervised and if defective system causes a wrong dosage, an alarm must be activated. A safety switch off in the case of a component breakdown should be a standard feature of any medical laser system.Another aspect is the safety of staff and patients when laser procedures is undertaken. A prime consideration in laser safety is appropriate eyewear for both staff and patients. The patient must be protected against unintentional irradiation by safety covers and non-inflammable tubing, anaesthetics, and sterile sheets must be used. The issue of carrying off excessive heat and any pyrolysis products, which may be generated, must be reconsidered. It should be noted that dental mirrors absorb laser energy to various degrees and thus should never be deliberately lased. Likewise, surfaces which present reflection hazards should be identified and avoided. Generous use of wet gauze squares within the oral cavity provides an effective means for ''trapping“ scattered and reflected laser energy and for protecting soft tissues. Finally, it should be noted that lasers used during general anesthesia may pose a risk of ignition for flammable anesthetic gases.