During the procedure, an endoscope is positioned in the oral cavity for exposure of the operative field. The laser is used to remove the tumor from surrounding tissue. A micromanipulator attached to the microscope, or an hand held instrument, directs the laser energy to the tissue, under microscopic vision. Decades of experience using this technique has resulted in safety protocols that have stood the test of time.
Lasers differ by wave length of light emitted, each with their own effects on tissue. The carbon dioxide laser is the most frequently used in head and neck tumor removal.