Lasers in the Operating Room


Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulating Emissions of Radiation. It is an optical source of light that is mechanically manufactured to emit protons. The light produced by the laser is of a single wavelength which enhances its use in various industries. One significant use of light is in health care settings and especially in the operating rooms. Despite the significance that lasers have, they may pose a great danger to the users if correct handling procedures are not taken (Price & Frey, 68). Every year, there have been reported cases of accidents that have been caused due to improper handling of the gadgets. This has made health care institutions adapt lessons that will enable the users to be safe from any risks associated with it. There are also safety precautions that need to be adopted by the users for them to be of great help rather than to be a disaster.

Possible injuries

Some of the common injuries that have been reported in the operation room due to inappropriate use of lasers are eye injuries due to excess light, thermal and fire injuries. These are some of the most common injuries that have been recorded by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As a strategy to protect health workers from such injuries, it is recommended that health institutions provide safe working environments for their employees and frequently remind them of the safety precautions that they should observe to keep safe (Clayman & Kuo, 130). There are special masks, goggles, and gloves that have been recommended for the use which can protect the workers from such associated injuries. Lasers are classified into different classes which also determine the level of their injuries.

Laser classification

Class 1 lasers

Class 1 lasers are less risky and do not require the users to take many precautionary measures and wear protective gadgets. They can be safely used, as they have been identified to cause no harm to the users during normal operations. This kind of laser is mostly used in compact disc players and laser printers.

Class 2 lasers

Class 2 lasers emit energy between the ranges of 400nm to 700nm. The light produced by these lasers may be physically viewed for a few seconds (Price & Frey, 110). These are the lasers that pose a great risk to the users and hence require protective measures to be taken. Light emissions produced by the lasers are so bright and can affect the eyes. Special goggles and masks are usually recommended for health care staff that may use them during operations.


Classification of lasers according to their classes is usually recommended by the manufactures to ensure that their users are protected from their possible dangers. The packages are supposed to be clearly labeled, and the precautionary measures to be taken while using them are presented on the packages. It is also recommended that the health care practitioners that frequently use the lasers not assume that they know how to use them. They are required to read through the measures to be taken and never rely on their past experiences (Clayman & Kuo, 57). Occupational safety and health administration desire to ensure that the lasers manufactured for use in health care centers are beneficial to the patients and do not pose a risk to the users. It is due to this that the organization takes stern measures against health organizations that do not adopt safety precautions for their health staff.

Works cited

Price, Paul & Frey, Kevin. Technological Sciences for the Surgical Technologist. New York: Association of Surgical Technologists, 2008.

Clayman, Lewis & Kuo, Paul. Lasers in maxillofacial surgery and dentistry. California: Thieme, 1997.

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