2023 VLSS • May 19-20, 2023 • San Antonio, TX
Speakers, Presentation Titles, Abstracts and Biographical Highlights
Ordered by Presentation Date and Time
Friday, May 19, 2023
Friday, 8:00 am – 8:50 am
Peter Vitruk, PhD, MInstP, CPhys
Laser Beam Optimization for Soft Tissue Surgeries
This presentation is a Physicist’s perspective on the most important and critical controls available to laser surgeons with respect to Depth of Incision and the Depth of Coagulation/Hemostasis: Wavelength. Power. Pulsing. Spot Size. These fundamental concepts of laser surgery will be abundantly illustrated with the videos. The difference between the ablative and non-ablative laser wavelengths will be explained as well as their relevance to soft tissue laser surgery.
Dr. Peter Vitruk was born and raised in Ukraine. He earned his PhD degree in Physics from the Moscow Physics and Technology Institute, Moscow in the late 1980s in the former USSR. In the 1990s he held a Research Scientist position with The Academy of Sciences in the former USSR and then a Royal Society Visiting Research Fellow position at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. He later worked as Senior Scientist with Synrad Inc. in Seattle, WA, and then as Chief Scientist with Luxar/ESC/Lumenis also in Seattle, WA. In 2002 Dr. Vitruk founded Luxarcare LLC – an exclusive certified Luxar laser service and accessories provider for 12,000+ surgical Luxar laser installations around the globe. In 2005 he founded Aesculight LLC and LightScalpel LLC – the only American-based designer and manufacturer of surgical CO2 lasers for small office out-patient market. Dr. Vitruk has authored 10 patents and over 20 articles on CO2 lasers, and is a Member of The Institute of Physics, UK. In 2017 he founded the American Laser Study Club, an educational platform that helps physicians, dentists, veterinarians, and practice staff members to excel at the efficient and safe application of laser energy in everyday practice. He is married to his wife of 34 years Natasha and they together have two children, Olga and Alexander.
Friday, 8:50 am – 9:40 am
Ray Arza, DVM
Core Principles, Optimal Results
CO2 lasers provide tremendous benefits to most soft tissue surgical procedures. To obtain maximum benefit from this technology surgeons must understand some basic but very foundational core principles. This presentation identifies past deficiencies of CO2 surgical lasers and lack of understanding of how to effectively use the technology. It describes the many innovations and improvements in our technology as well as the new concepts and techniques that allow the surgeon to maximize the benefits of the thermal effect of CO2 lasers while avoiding thermal insult to tissue.
These core principles will allow the surgeon to critically think through any soft tissue surgical procedure and utilize this technology to obtain optimal surgical results. Key points of discussion will include: 1. Importance of minimizing light time on tissue, 2. Appropriate power and hand-speed, 3. Understanding super pulse, 4. Spot-sizes and their applications, 5. Focusing lens and tip-less hand-pieces.
Dr. Arza earned his DVM at the University of Tennessee in 1979. He was a small animal general practitioner for 23 years with a special interest in surgery and dentistry. Dr. Arza started using a surgical laser in 1998, and soon thereafter became a popular lecturer at conferences, universities, and seminars on laser technologies. In 2002, he left private practice to join the industry as an educator, trainer, consultant, and lecturer, and independent manufactures representative of surgical lasers, therapy lasers, and digital thermography. In 2006 he became the first sales representative for Aesculight veterinary surgical lasers and has been intimately involved with the development and advancement of the Aesculight and VetScalpel surgical lasers. In January of 2021, he became Co-Director of Sales in North America for Aesculight. Dr. Arza and his wife, Sandy, have been blessed with five children and thirteen grandchildren.
Friday, 9:50 am – 10:45 am
John Godbold Jr, DVM
Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome, The CO2 Laser Paradigm Shift
Today veterinary medicine is much better equipped to address the surgical needs of brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) patients. Understanding the pathogenesis of BOAS has increased, along with appreciation for the multiple morbidities that accompany genetic selection for brachycephaly. Advancement of CO2 laser surgery techniques and earlier surgical intervention by an increasing number of primary care practitioners using the laser have dramatically improved the welfare of brachycephalic dogs. This paradigm shift has resulted in more accessible and improved management of BOAS patients. The next paradigm shift must be toward more active involvement of the veterinary profession in helping predisposed breeds evolve with more normal conformation.
Dr. Godbold graduated with honors from Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1978. In 1980, he established Stonehaven Park Veterinary Hospital in Jackson, Tennessee where he practiced full time as a solo small animal practitioner for 33 years. Dr. Godbold currently works full time with Stonehaven Veterinary Consulting, teaching and assisting colleagues, and working in the development of new technologies.
Since 1999, Dr. Godbold has pursued a special interest in the use of laser modalities in small animal practice. He has extensive experience with surgical and therapeutic lasers, has developed new surgical and therapeutic techniques, and assists equipment manufacturers with their technologies.
Dr. Godbold has published numerous papers, articles, and chapters about the use of lasers in small animal practice. His publications have appeared in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Clinician’s Brief, Laserpoints, The Feline Patient, Laser Surgery in Veterinary Medicine, Laser Therapy in Veterinary Medicine – Photobiomodulation, Today’s Veterinary Practice, Veterinary Practice News, The Integrative Veterinary Care Journal and the Newsletter of the Veterinary Surgical Laser Society.
Dr. Godbold published the internationally distributed Atlas of CO2 Laser Surgery Procedures in 2002, with a new edition each year since. He is co‐editor and a chapter contributor of the 2017 textbook Laser Therapy in Veterinary Medicine ‐ Photobiomodulation, published by Wiley‐Blackwell.
In high demand as a continuing education speaker, Dr. Godbold has led over 700 laser and thermal imaging workshops, wet‐labs, and continuing education meetings throughout North America and in over 25 countries around the world.
Friday, 10:45 am – 11:45 am
Boaz Man, DVM
Lets Laser Focus on Going Viral
As veterinarians, we have all taken an oath to “use our scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.” Although this oath may seem self-explanatory and our duties are somewhat obvious, I believe that we sometimes forget that we are looked at as experts who are in charge of educating pet parents around the globe. All of us who come to earn continuing education obviously share a goal of providing excellent care through laser surgery, but what good does it do if we don’t share what we do with the general public?
Social media is no longer a trend, it’s a necessity. And for those of you who don’t know, The social media revolution has already happened! Social media is a tool that fulfills a need, the need to communicate, interact and share. Interacting on social media platforms will not only showcase the many benefits of laser surgery but also help the pet parents understand why we have chosen laser surgery over a scalpel blade or electrocautery or other less favorable surgical methods. Social media laser surgery education will bring together fans, friends, and followers who are interested in excellent care for pets to our practices.
I believe it comes down to some simple questions, “if not me then who and if not now then when?” If we are not sharing pet stories and pet parent advice on social media, then we are all forgetting about the oath we took as veterinarians to help educate the public on the advancement of medical knowledge! The very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result and we can not and should not accept this!
Pet parents want services to be personal and it’s obvious that our profession has lost the war with pharmacy sales years ago! Practices who don’t show value of the laser surgery services we provide on social media will all eventually be left behind! Everyone is using social media and whether we are engaging pet parents with real and unique content in social media or not, they continue to use it and find alternative solutions to the pet care that they seek! The fact is that people are out there talking and not enough of us are there to interact with them. These pet parents are unfortunately ending up in the wrong places for their pets because we have not educated them properly! At the end of the day, it is our oath on the line and the responsibility falls on us!
Dr. Man, a South Florida native, has been passionate about caring for pets’ needs since childhood. Beginning at 13, Boaz spent every summer and school holiday working at veterinary hospitals in preparation for his dream to become a veterinarian. Dr. Man completed his Bachelors in Biology with a Double Minor in Chemistry and Judaic Studies from the University of Miami in 1999.
Dr. Man earned his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Ross University in 2004 after completing his clinical training at Oklahoma State University. Dr. Man then completed an internship with board-certified internists, surgeons, and critical care veterinarians at Palm Beach Veterinary Specialists. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Man has been serving clients and patients at several prominent animal hospitals in South Florida. In 2013 Dr. Man became the owner and medical director of Boca Midtowne Animal Hospital, which is AAHA accredited, and he is proud to be a fear-free certified veterinarian. Dr. Man is an editorial advisory board member for DVM 360 & contributes regularly with his educational social media content and publications for the magazine. Dr. Man serves as a practice management advisor for fear-free and has recently been invited to lecture on hot topics in veterinary medicine in San Diego & Las Vegas, including digital cytology & high-power laser surgery.
Dr. Man resides in Boca Raton with his wife Jade, their three children Leia, Ruby, and Max, and their rescued dogs named Millie and Elvis. He believes in providing the highest quality of care to his patients and those that love them and has special interests in dermatology, internal medicine, and surgery. Dr. Man takes great pride in his commitment to practicing state-of-the-art medicine and diagnostics. He believes staying up to date with technology is one of the many essential keys to practicing good medicine. Most importantly, Dr. Man is dedicated to giving pet parents the guidance they need to make informed decisions with regard to their pet’s health.
Friday, 1:00 pm – 1:40 pm
David Duclos, DVM, Dipl. ACVD
The Evolution of CO2 laser surgery in Dermatology
The use of the CO2 laser in veterinary medicine has evolved over the past 30-plus years. This presentation will discuss the changes seen over that time, from the first CO2 laser available to veterinarians to the current model of the CO2 laser. The technology that was available to veterinarians in the late 1980s was primitive compared to what we have today.
Even in those early days, we were able to do amazing things with the CO2 laser. It rapidly became clear to many veterinarians that the CO2 laser was an invaluable tool for surgery. Surgeons from all fields, both human and veterinary, provided feedback to the engineers designing and building these devices. As time progressed, this led to many design changes. It has been a cooperative work between the experience of these users and engineers that led to our current CO2 laser units.
Along with the innovative design changes, better education has also been provided by establishing this laser study club and our annual meetings. The education gained at meetings like this also led to more acceptance of this technology in veterinary medicine. The current version of the CO2 laser gives the laser surgeons multiple combinations of power and time modes that enable more precise surgical procedures and gives them the ability to do far less damage to the patient and to offer the pet owners options for surgery that were previously unavailable. This presentation will discuss not only the advances in hardware designs but also the knowledge gained over the last 32 years.
David D. Duclos, DVM, Diplomate ACVD, graduated cum laude, from Washington State University, and completed his Residency in Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania. Since 1991 he has been the owner and clinical dermatologist at the Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic, in Lynnwood, WA near Seattle. He is the primary author of numerous scientific papers in both national and international veterinary journals and is the author of several chapters on various topics in several veterinary medical textbooks. Among his interests in the field of dermatology is the use of the CO2 laser in the treatment and management of dermatologic conditions. He has been using the CO2 laser in his dermatology practice since 1992. He is the primary mentor for a Dermatology Resident at his practice and teaches senior veterinary medical students, human senior medical students, and veterinary interns, and residents in dermatology rotations lasting 2 to 4 weeks at his Clinic. These students come from veterinary schools at Washington State University, in Pullman, WA, and Western University, in Pomona, California, and various veterinary schools and medical schools in the US and Europe.
Friday, 1:40 pm – 2:40 pm
Amelia White, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVD
Don’t bench the laser – sub it in for common dermatological conditions
CO2 laser surgery is growing in popularity in veterinary dermatology. This surgical modality has been around for a long time, and as equipment becomes more accessible the popularity of this technique continues to grow.
Additionally, clients are beginning to ask directly for treatments that go beyond sterile surgical steel. Learning this technique is relatively straight-forward and lends nice surgical outcomes. However, this modality are not without potential harm to the patient and surgical team if proper techniques and standard safety protocols are not followed. Common uses in veterinary dermatology include treatment of follicular cysts, sebaceous adenomas, nodular sebaceous hyperplasia, pigmented viral plaques in dogs, small cutaneous hemangiomas or hemaniosarcomas, feline ceruminous cystomatosis, gingival hyperplasia, idiopathic nasodigital hyperkeratosis, cutaneous papillomas, plasma cell pododermatitis, inflammatory aural polyps or other otic tumors, fibrocollagenous skin tags, actinic keratosis or Bowen’s in situ carcinoma, acral lick granulomas, pedal cysts and furunculosis, and chronic lip fold dermatitis through lesion removal and/or ablation. Mass removal for submission for histopathology is achievable with a CO2 laser by obtaining a slightly wider surgical margin than with traditional scalpel blade removal to account for laser-induced tissue shrinkage during vaporization.
Dr. Amelia White received her DVM from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010 followed by a one-year internship in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at Auburn University.
She was accepted to a dermatology residency at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana the following year where she completed three years of specialty training and a Master’s degree in 2014.
Dr. White became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology in 2014 and is an Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. She has authored or contributed to various abstracts, case reports, primary research, and book chapters.
Friday, 2:50 pm – 3:50 pm
Jason Pieper, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVD
Light is beneficial for all skin, even the paws and ears
Paws can be problematic for surgical removal of any mass effect or tumors due to limited excess tissue as well as the high vascularization in some areas. The precision of the CO2 laser makes it ideal to remove these mass effects or tumors without remove of excess tissue. Additionally, foreign bodies and draining tracts can be easily removed or ablated as well. We will cover some of these procedures which are ideal for CO2 laser. Another area with minimal excess tissue is the ears, whether this is the ear pinnae, entrance to the ear canal, or within the lumen of the external ear canal. For work within the lumen of the external ear canal, you will need the assistance of a video otoscope though. This is a great option to help maintain the external ear canal and the hearing capability of the animal.
Dr. Jason Pieper an assistant professor of dermatology at Iowa State University, where he also earned his DVM. Dr. Pieper completed a rotating internship in the greater Chicago area, a dermatology internship in Phoenix, Arizona, and a dermatology residency at University of Illinois, where he also earned his MS. His areas of specialty and research interest include communication, platelet rich plasma, dermoscopy, CO2 laser, dermatophytosis, and dermatohistopathology.
Friday, 3:50 pm – 5:10 pm
Jakub Kaczmarek, DVM, Dipl. ECVS
More Power, Less Complications
CO2 surgical lasers allow bloodless and less painful surgery. As a result, one gets a clear visualization, faster surgical time, and excellent healing. Correct surgical technique is necessary for desired results and safety. This presentation will comprehensively explain major points a surgeon must consider regarding the power, setup, and technique that will achieve optimal results using CO2 laser technology.
Jakub Lukasz Kaczmarek, DVM, ECVS Resident. After graduating the veterinary studies in Wroclaw (Poland) in 2013, he began a two-year surgical internship at the referral clinic in Birkenfeld, Germany. He is currently a resident of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons at a reference clinic in Augsburg / Germany.
Saturday, May 20, 2023
Saturday, 9:00 am – 9:45 am
Introduction to Hands-On Laser Surgery Techniques and Principles
At VetScalpel, we believe that experienced surgeons can become good and experienced CO2 laser surgeons by understanding a few core principles of CO2 laser surgery and putting those into practice. Furthermore, with the development of contemporary technique over the latter part of the last decade, most CO2 laser surgeons are missing out on the even greater potential benefits of their laser. This talk will lay out exercises that will help you grasp and implement these core principles and elevate your surgical practice.
John Arza earned his bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences from Liberty University in 2016. He engaged in undergraduate epigenetics research for Alzheimer’s disease at both Liberty University and the University of Louisville Medical School. After graduating, he entered work in the human healthcare field and has now been with VetScalpel since 2021 in training development. Since then, he has been intricately involved in developing the current training process and has trained over 120 clinics. He is passionate about using the knowledge and experience of veterinarian experts in the CO2 laser to make the technology and optimal medical results more accessible to every veterinarian.
At this time, attendees will be split up into three groups. These groups will rotate between the following breakout sessions:
Saturday, Breakout Session (Variable Times)
Ray Arza, DVM;
Peter Vitruk, PhD, MInstP, CPhys; &
Hands-On Laser Surgery Techniques and Principles
The program Veterinary Soft Tissue Surgical Laser Hands-On Participation Workshop focuses on the practical aspects of veterinary soft tissue CO2 laser surgery, as well as on the fundamental processes involved in the laser-tissue interaction. The workshop is designed to help attendees learn how deep the laser beam cuts and how deep coagulation and hemostasis extend into the surgical margins. Participants will be able to understand the basics of laser physics and laser–tissue interaction, laser safety, adjusting laser parameters (such as power, fluence, pulsing, and hand speed) for selected procedures, and how surgical lasers are utilized for general practice procedures, dermatological and dental applications. The hands-on participation lab is designed to train attendees to perform incision, excision, dissection and ablation safely and efficiently. No previous knowledge of surgical lasers is required, and experienced practitioners will learn something new as well.
Saturday, Breakout Session (Variable Times)
Jakub Kaczmarek, DVM, Dipl. ECVS;
Boaz Man, DVM; &
Noel Berger, DVM, MS
Everyday Laser Use In Surgery – Panel Discussion and Q&A
Saturday, Breakout Session (Variable Times)
David Duclos, DVM, Dipl. ACVD;
Amelia White, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVD; &
Jason Pieper, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVD
Everyday Laser Use In Dermatology – Panel Discussion and Q&A
The ALSC’s 2023 Veterinary Laser Surgery Symposium will be held on May 19-20 at the Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX. It’s the sole yearly assembly for vets concentrating on laser surgery and features lectures and a hands-on lab to upgrade your surgical skills. Meet colleagues, learn from celebrated veterinary surgeons and dermatologists, and explore surgical laser applications, techniques, technologies, science, and safety education.
*Information, terms, and conditions in this communication are subject to change without prior notice.