Ask any orthopedic surgeon to show you the tools of the trade, and the evidence of laser processing is not difficult to spot. Most devices and tools, even single-use items, bear the telltale traces of marking lasers used to indicate depth, part number, and lot or serial number. The growth of laser usage is apparent wherever you look, driven by several trends: 1) the miniaturization of manufacturing technologies is bringing new possibilities to the development bench, 2) minimally-invasive therapies are shortening recovery times, 3) the field is on a quest for improved patient outcomes in the long term, and 4) laser-processed components can reduce device cost with rapid processing -- and by reducing part and process count.

This prominent use of laser marking in orthopedics is flanked by numerous other laser applications that are less obvious to the user, but vital for the device engineer.