Carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers continue to be a major instrument for soft tissue surgery for excellent affinity to water-based tissues. The wavelength of 10,600nm is readily absorbed by water thus, it will not penetrate far into tissues (0.1-0.23mm) without repeated or prolonged use making it ideal for superficial lesions and resurfacing of the skin. It is also used for removal of the sialoliths.
Nd:YAG lasers (1064nm) are used for hair removal, in addition for removal of tattoos and pigmented lesions if q-switched. Nd:YAG and
Ho:YAG (2.12µm) are frequently used in bone and cartilage ablation.
Ho:YAG lasers are used for adhesions and foreign body removal while treating joint irregularities and performing discectomy of the perforated disk.
Er:YAG lasers (2.94µm) have become the most popular lasers for treatment of hard tissues, teeth and bone. Frequency doubled Nd:YAG or KTP laser (532nm) is strongly absorbed by haemoglobin, melanin and other similar pigments being used for treatment of telangiectasia
and keloid scars if q-switched.
Alexandrite lasers (720-800nm) are used for hair removal and tattoo removal, if q-switched, as are the ruby laser (694nm) and dye laser (400-1000nm).
Argon (488, 514nm) and krypton lasers (531nm) are readily absorbed by hemoglobin, melanin and other similar pigmentation and are useful in the treatment of the port-wine stains. Argon, KTP, Nd:YAG and diode lasers are used to treat oral soft and/or vascular lesions by ablation, incision, excision or coagulation. The excimer laser (UV outputs) are absorbed by proteins, and mostly used in ophthalmic surgery.