Transoral laser microsurgery (TLM) is used to treat small tumours of the throat and larynx. Carbon dioxide (CO2) laser beams cut tissue more precisely than scalpels.
An endoscope is inserted through the mouth to view the surgery site during the transoral laser microsurgery procedure. The surgeon uses a specially designed microscope aligned with the endoscope to guide the laser beam. A continuous beam or a pulsed beam may be fired in short bursts.
By generating minimal heat, the CO2 laser beam can avoid damaging structures crucial to speech and swallowing. This procedure seals off blood vessels and cauterises the wound edges, resulting in a much faster healing process.