Only 10 Cases Performed in Clinical Study
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Surgeons can use the Femtec femtosecond laser to perform everything from penetrating keratoplasty (PKP) to astigmatic keratotomy (AK).
While the Femtec laser is similar to the IntraLase, it does have some special characteristics including a patented patient interface, which mimics corneal curvature. As a result, the natural shape of the cornea can be maintained and less suction is needed when attaching the device to the eye than with the IntraLase. Because there is less suction on the eye, there is also less pressure inside the eye during the procedure. As a result, patients no longer experience vision blackouts during a procedure.
In other respects, the Femtec creates flaps in much the same way as they are made by the IntraLase. The Femtec laser uses cavitation spots within the stroma to cleave the flap plane, and studies show the cuts to be very precise. A recent study of the accuracy of the Femtec in cutting laser flaps, compared to thicknesses achieved with mechanical microkeratomes. While the thickness of more than 1600 LASIK flaps showed a range of standard deviations between 15 and 30 microns, depending upon the flap thickness, pre-op corneal pachymetry and microkeratome used. Meanwhile, the Femtec showed a standard deviation of approximately 10 microns.
Another advantage the Femtec has over mechanical microkeratomes is the ability to individualize each LASIK procedure and choose between any hinge position, flap diameter and thickness. This can be particularly important in cases with thin corneas where the Femtec laser allows cutting of thinner flaps and helps to avoid post-op complications like corneal ectasia.
One unique technique with the laser is penetrating keratoplasty. With this technology practitioners can not only attain a precise cut that is perpendicular to the surface, they can also choose the angulation of the cut. The cuts are computer controlled, so surgeons can choose the size and shape of the cuts. They could, for example, make triangular cuts. Or, if a patient has a scar, the surgeon can cut that specific part of the cornea. By contrast with a traditional trephine you are limited to the predefined diameter of the device.
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