There has been renewed interest in the use of lasers for minimally invasive treatment of urologic diseases in recent years. The introduction of more compact, higher power, less expensive and more user-friendly solid-state lasers, such as the holmium: yttrium-aluminum-garnet (YAG), frequency-doubled neodymium:YAG and diode lasers has made the technology more attractive for clinical use. The availability of small, flexible, biocompatible, inexpensive and disposable silica optical fiber delivery systems for use in flexible endoscopes has also promoted the development of new laser procedures. The holmium:YAG laser is currently the workhorse laser in urology since it can be used for multiple soft- and hard-tissue applications, including laser lithotripsy, benign prostate hyperplasia, bladder tumors and strictures. More recently, higher power potassium-titanyl-phosphate lasers have been introduced and show promise for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. On the horizon, newer and more effective photosensitizing drugs are being tested for potential use in photodynamic therapy of bladder and prostate cancer. Additionally, new experimental lasers such as the erbium:YAG, Thulium and Thulium fiber lasers, may provide more precise incision of soft tissues, more efficient laser lithotripsy and more rapid prostate ablation. This review provides an update on the most important new clinical and experimental therapeutic applications of lasers in urology over the past 5 years.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Reviews and References, Medical