A comparative study was undertaken in rabbit tibiae to assess the healing of bone in response to osteotomies by a mid‐infrared erbium:YAG (2.94 μm) laser or a mechanical saw. Laser parameters necessary for osteotomy were shown to produce deep cuts with sharp edges and no gross charring or burning of adjacent bone. However, it was noted histologically that there was a delay in healing of the laser osteotomies as compared to saw osteotomies. This delay was caused by a microscopic zone of damage to bone adjacent to the laser cuts. It is concluded that, although the erbium:YAG laser may be a useful tool in orthopaedic surgery to ablate bone, under the conditions used in this study, there will be a delay in the healing process after laser osteotomy.
- mechanical saw
- saw osteotomy