Use of Nd-yag laser ablation in colorectal obstruction and palliation in high-risk patients

S. Walfisch, H. Stern, S. Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Conventional treatment for colonic obstruction due to cancer or benign anastomotic stricutres in high-risk patients or unresectable cases in some form of colostomy. This procedure has the negative aspects of requiring a general anesthetic and leaves the infirm patient with a stoma that they cannot easily attend to. Ablation of tumor by Nd-Yag laser has been available for several years, with passage of the laser fiber through a colonoscope. To evaluate the role of laser photocoagulation in the palliation of colorectal tumors or benign strictures, the authors summarized their initial experience, trying to define the indications, various methods of treatment, and complication rate in these patients. This technique is difficult to perform and has the added risk of intestinal perforation but does obviate anesthetic and surgical risks. Seven patients with recurrent metastatic colorectal obstruction, three patients with benign colonic strictures, and two patients with large villous tumors were treated with Nd-Yag laser passed via the colonoscope. The mean age was 71 years (range, 52 to 86 years). Five patients received sedatives only, six patients received epidural anesthetic, and one had a general anesthetic. The average total energy used was 3702 joules on noncontact fibers, and the average number of pulses was 126. Distance of the lesion from the anal margin ranged from 0.5 to 30 cm. Ten of twelve tumors were within 15 cm of the dentate line. In the most distal lesions, manual debulking with biopsy forceps facilitated the laser treatment. Symptomatic relief was achieved in all patients. One patient required a colostomy one month after treatment because of incontinence. Another patient needed a resection of a benign stricture after three laser treatments. Other than one case of microperforation, treated conservatively with antibiotics, no other complications occurred and there was no mortality. The authors believed that the Nd-Yag laser plays a specific role in the treatment of high-risk patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1060-1064
Number of pages5
JournalDiseases of the Colon and Rectum
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Colonic stricture
  • Colorectal tumors
  • Laser ablation
  • Villous adenoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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