Lasers are devices that emit a single, coherent wavelength of electromagnetic radiation that is used to cut, coagulate or ablate tissue for a variety of clinical applications. The word LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Lasers are comprised of an energy source, a resonant chamber, and an active medium, which can be in the gas, solid, or liquid state.
Neodymium doped: yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG) lasers are perhaps the most commonly used solid state laser. The medium is a rod composed of neodymium ions and crystals of yttrium-aluminum-garnet. Nd:YAG lasers emit light at mid-infrared wavelengths (1320 nm, 1064 nm) with pulse durations in the millisecond range.
The longer wavelength of the Nd:YAG laser penetrates deeper into tissues than other lasers and can cause collateral thermal damage. Nd-YAG lasers have also been associated with air embolism formation, and the use of lasers in general during airway surgeries can be complicated by endotracheal tube fire.