Grant: 16-041C
Project Title: Surgical CO2 Laser for FP Tumor Removal
Project Manager: Bette Zirkelbach
Organization: Hidden Harbor Marine Environmental Project (The Turtle Hospital) (Non-Profit Organization)
Grant Amount: $16,479.50
Completion Date: 2017-03-14

Summary: The Turtle Hospital has been rehabilitating sea turtles with Fibropapilloma (FP) for nearly 30 years and is one of only a handful of facilities in Florida treating this horrific disease. FP affects over 50% of the green sea turtle population in and around the Florida Keys. The Turtle Hospital has seen an increase in the number and in the severity of FP cases over the past few years. Surgically removing the FP tumors is a critical part of treating FP patients. The CO2 laser is the best tool for this job. The Turtle Hospitalís CO2 laser was purchased in December 2005 and is no longer reliable. This laser was last sent out for major repair in July 2014. Currently the Turtle Hospital is doing anywhere from 5 to 15 tumor removal surgeries per week. A new, higher power, reliable CO2 laser will assure seamless treatment of the Turtle Hospitalís FP patients.

Results: The Turtle Hospital purchased a new high powered CO2 surgical laser. The laser was received June 20,2016 and was put to use starting June 21,2016. The new laser is dependable and has proven itself even in the most demanding applications. Veterinarians at the Turtle Hospital have been surgically removing FP tumors from endangered and threatened sea turtles for over 30 years and the hospital continues to be a leader in the treatment of FP in green sea turtles. The Turtle Hospital treats all FP inflicted turtles rescued in Monroe County, Florida and FP sea turtle patients transferred from other parts of the state' The Turtle Hospital has used the laser for 30 FP tumor removal surgeries to date. In addition to tumor removal surgeries, veterinarians at the Turtle Hospital have used the new surgical laser in 2 amputation surgeries, I treatment of an abscess, and 2 intestinal surgeries. The Turtle Hospital provides FP tumor samples for ongoing research, the new laser is used to remove these "samples" from the patient.