Purpose: Laser surgery has been shown to exhibit several advantages over scalpel surgery for many procedures. Some of these advantages include hemostasis, decreased scarring, and the ability to perform certain procedures without anesthesia. It has been postulated that laser surgery results in less postoperative pain. However, this can be a difficult parameter to measure. This study sought to determine if there was a difference between the frequency and intensity of pain following scalpel biopsy when compared to biopsy performed with a CO2 laser. Materials and Methods: Forty patients requiring biopsy of either intraoral or facial lesions were selected for this study. Twenty patients underwent biopsy using a scalpel and 20 had similar biopsies performed with a continuouswave CO2 laser. Following biopsy, patients were discharged with a postoperative course survey. Patients were asked to measure their pain on a standard 100-mm visual analog scale two times per day for seven days. Patients were also asked to describe the frequency of their pain during that time period. Analysis was then performed to compare pain parameters between the scalpel and laser biopsy groups. Results: Multivariate analysis of variance revealed no statistically significant difference in frequency and intensity of pain or temporal distribution of pain with laser biopsy vs scalpel biopsy. Conclusions: CO2 laser biopsy and scalpel biopsy techniques result in equivalent amount, frequency, and duration of postoperative pain.
Keywords: pain, excisional biopsy, CO2 laser, scalpel, dentistry