Dermatological VetScalpel CO2 surgical laser therapy for veterinary skin conditions

We are pleased to be able to offer a new surgical option for patients at Chiltern Referrals. Our dermatology specialist Dr Carly Mason has undergone training to operate using a state-of-the-art VetScalpel CO2 surgical laser (previously branded Aesculight). We are one of only a handful of veterinary practices that currently have access to this equipment in the UK. This technique can be applied to a variety of skin and ear conditions that are challenging to treat by other medical or surgical methods.

How is VetScalpel CO2 surgical laser different to traditional scalpel and scissors surgical procedures?

During VetScalpel surgery an intense laser beam contacts the chosen surgical field on the pet. The beam is focused to form a precise and sterile incision, reducing collateral thermal damage of the surrounding tissues. The technique is particularly useful for areas where primary closure (suturing) is difficult using conventional surgery (e.g. ears, feet, tail). The laser can also be used to vaporise infected tissue (virus, bacteria) and to remove and ablate tumours.

What dermatological conditions are suitable for VetScalpelâ CO2 surgical laser?

A variety of skin, ear and oncology (tumour) conditions can be treated using the VetScalpel CO2 laser system.

Skin disease/Oncology:

  • Laser podoplasty – for removal of false pad tissue and interdigital cysts refractory to medical treatment. These are caused by weight bearing on haired skin (false pad formation) or Atopic dermatitis [click here for more info].
  • Nodular sebaceous hyperplasia/adenoma – rapid ablation of multiple lesions improves infections and reduces discomfort
  • Oral/skin viral papilloma – large numbers present or immunosuppressed patients where self-recovery is less likely
  • Nasal/digital hyperkeratosis
  • Recurrent areas folliculitis/furunculosis or follicular cysts (chin acne, elbow callus cysts)
  • Tumours of the tail
  • Tumours of the paw/interdigital spaces
  • Squamous cell carcinoma/actinic dermatitis of the nose
  • Eyelid tumours e.g. meibomian gland mass
  • Perianal adenoma
  • Canine pigmented viral plaques
  • Bowenoid carcinoma (BISC lesions)
  • Acral lick granuloma
  • Apocrine cysts
  • Haemangioma
  • Keratoacanthoma
  • Trichoblastoma
  • Skin tags
  • Fungal granuloma
  • Mycobacterial lesion excision
  • Fibroadnexal harmatoma
  • Feline plasma cell pododermatitis


  • Feline ceruminous cystomatosis
  • Pinnal tumours – particularly useful where ablation is required as sutures are not possible
  • Ear meatus (entrance) tumours
  • Squamous cell carcinoma/Actinic dermatitis of the pinna
  • Pinnectomy – secondary to neoplasia or vasculopathy
  • Ear canal polyps
  • Aural haematoma
  • Sebaceous or ceruminous hyperplasia of the canal
  • Ceruminous gland tumours 

Oral procedures:

  • Oral eosinophilic granuloma
  • Gingival hyperplasia (post cyclosporine use) and Epulis

VetScalpel CO2 laser advantages over conventional surgery:

  • Less pain – the nerve endings are sealed during the procedure minimising post-operative pain. Patients are expected to have a more comfortable recovery.
  • Less bleeding – the small blood vessels are cut and sealed during surgery meaning less bleeding during and after surgery.
  • Less swelling – the lymphatic vessels are sealed reducing post-operative swelling.
  • Quicker recovery (to normal activities)
  • Reduced infection – the CO2 laser kills bacteria and viruses, the surgical field and incision are sterilised during the procedure. This reduces the risk of post-operative infection.
  • Vaporisation of infected tissue – the Vetscalpel can be used to specifically ablate problem infected areas.
  • Useful to remove tumours in problematic areas that are not amenable to conventional surgery e.g. the tail, ear/pinna, and paws. The laser can also be used to ablate tumour beds

Further readingLearn more by visiting