Energy from the electromagnetic spectrum: the future in orthopedic surgery

Am J Knee Surg. 1999 Summer;12(3):181-5.


The electromagnetic spectrum contains a tremendous amount of energy, which is now being increasingly explored. Lasers of various wavelengths are being and will be developed in the future to treat specific disease conditions. These lasers also will be smaller and cheaper. Radiothermal and electrocautery devices will be developed for other specific purposes. With all of the ablation devices, however, one must remember that there are energy effects that occur deep to the superficial surface, which must be studied and known. Improper use of these strong energies can cause irreversible iatrogenic damage to tissues. Perhaps the greatest potential of electromagnetic (light) energy is the potential to repair rather than resect tissues-in conjunction with different photoactive chemicals. The future is truly exciting, and as Whipple once said, "Developed as a science, applied as a science, and monitored as a science, lasers will serve us extremely well."

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Laser Coagulation
  • Laser Therapy*
  • Orthopedic Procedures*