Applications of lasers (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) in various disciplines of medicine including Urology are well developed. Urology is among the medical specialties that apply many different types of laser systems to treat a broad spectrum of clinical conditions ranging from genital, bladder and urethral tumors to the treatment of benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), urethral strictures, and stones.
The specific application of various laser systems depends on the characteristics of the laser itself, delivery media for the beams, laser-tissue interaction and the desired effect. These complex conditions require an intensive and continuous exchange of information between non-medical researchers and physicians to verify "what is currently technically possible and what is medically needed". Only this exchange can lead to the development of new laser systems.
While lasers have become the treatment of choice in some conditions, they could not, despite excellent clinical results, replace conventional therapy options in others. Nonetheless, the use and the introduction of lasers of different wavelengths forces urologists to keep step with the fast developing laser technology.
This paper reviews current indications for clinical laser applications relevant to urology and the advantages and disadvantages of using lasers for the management of various urological lesions.