Lasers have several unique properties that allow for the production of intensely powerful beams of light. These same properties also carry significant hazards for those not familiar with their safe use. If misdirected, laser beams can produce blindness or full-thickness cutaneous burns. Dry surgical gauze and drapes can ignite with sufficient exposure to laser energy, and treatment of infected tissue can generate a plume that poses a biohazard risk to the physician and staff as well. In order to use these powerful devices most effectively and safely, the physician should understand the basics of laser safety and be able to implement practical methods of operation.
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