Advertisement

How is laser therapy performed?

Laser therapy is often given through a flexible endoscope (a thin, lighted tube used to look at tissues inside the body). The endoscope is fitted with optical fibers (thin fibers that transmit light). It is inserted through an opening in the body, such as the mouth, nose, anus, or vagina. Laser light is then precisely aimed to cut or destroy a tumor.

Laser-induced interstitial thermotherapy (LITT) (or interstitial laser photocoagulation) also uses lasers to treat some cancers. LITT is similar to a cancer treatment called hyperthermia, which uses heat to shrink tumors by damaging or killing cancer cells. During LITT, an optical fiber is inserted into a tumor. Laser light at the tip of the fiber raises the temperature of the tumor cells and damages or destroys them. LITT is sometimes used to shrink tumors in the liver.

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is another type of cancer treatment that uses lasers. In PDT, a certain drug, called a photosensitizer or photosensitizing agent, is injected into a patient and absorbed by cells all over the patient's body. After a couple of days, the agent is found mostly in cancer cells. Laser light is then used to activate the agent and destroy cancer cells. Because the photosensitizer makes the skin and eyes sensitive to light for approximately 6 weeks, patients are advised to avoid direct sunlight and bright indoor light during that time.

This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.

Continue Learning about Non-Diagnostic Surgical Procedures

What are the risks of donating peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC)?
Piedmont Heart InstitutePiedmont Heart Institute
Unlike bone marrow donation, PBSC donation does not require anesthesia. The medication that is given...
More Answers
What are the different ways a person can be fed artificially?
Jorge Vargas, MDJorge Vargas, MD
A person can be fed artificially in one of two ways: via tube feeding (enteral nutrition) or intrave...
More Answers
What are the side effects of esophageal surgery?
SwedishSwedish
The biggest side effect of esophageal surgery is difficulty swallowing, or dysphagia. Therefore, it ...
More Answers
Why must I fast before surgery?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Fasting is often recommended before surgery. This ensures that your stomach and intestines are empty...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.