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Lasers in Medicine

Arthur F. Gelb, MD, FCCP; Joel D. Epstein, MD, FCCP; Allan M. Shanberg, MD, FAAP
Arch Intern Med. 1985;145(4):628-629. doi:10.1001/archinte.1985.00360040046009.
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It is our purpose to acquaint the reader with a concise update on the use of lasers in medicine, with particular emphasis on laser bronchoscopy. We have attempted to address the clinical appropriateness of lasers, because society is placing increasing fiscal constraints on our health care delivery system, especially with new technologies.

The word laser is an acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation; the principles of laser energy originated in the quantum optical theories of Einstein.1 The generation of a laser beam is dependent on the interaction of atomic or molecular systems with a source of energy (often electrical) that excites the molecules to a higher energy state with subsequent release of electromagnetic energy (photons). The laser medium may be a gas (ie, carbon dioxide, helium-neon, or argon), solid state (ie, crystalline), or amorphous solids with incorporation of certain ions (eg, neodymium


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