Free-electron laser

Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research
Record ID 32000000859
Authors' objectives: This report aims to summarise the available evidence on the use of the free-electron laser in brain tumour surgery.
Authors' recommendations: A free-electron laser, developed at Vanderbilt University, has been used successfully to remove tissue from the centre of a benign brain tumour. The free-electron laser emits infra-red light at 6.45 (m. It is said to be more powerful than conventional lasers, with a peak power of over 10 megawatts and an average power level of over 10 watts. The laser can be tuned to a wide range of frequencies through varying the energy in the electron beam that is used to generate the laser emission. It has been found that light at wavelengths near 6.45 (m is optimal for cutting soft tissues. Other research groups have found that light at 7.5 and 7.7(m cut through bone cleanly. The reason why these particular wavelengths are optimum is still unknown. Reliability of the free-electron laser is said to be approaching that of conventional lasers. In the case reported by the university group, the feasibility of the free-electron laser as a surgical tool was shown through destruction of a small amount of tissue from a tumour of a type that can be removed using alternative methods with a high success rate. The remainder of the tumour was removed using microsurgery. The team conducting this research hopes that the free-electron laser will provide a major advantage to surgeons through enabling removal of tumours located near vital nerves and arteries that cannot be reached safely by surgery or with conventional lasers. It is thought that this laser will produce little collateral damage to tissue surrounding the target site.
Authors' methods: Overview
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2000
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: Canada
MeSH Terms
  • Brain Neoplasms
  • Laser Therapy
Organisation Name: Institute of Health Economics
Contact Address: 1200, 10405 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T5J 3N4. Tel: +1 780 448 4881; Fax: +1 780 448 0018;
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Copyright: Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR)
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.