Drs. Katherine Crothall, Scott Siegel, and Noel Berger were Selected as Recipients of the 2023 Kumar Patel Prize in Laser Surgery

The American Laser Study Club’s 2023 Kumar Patel Prize in Laser Surgery is being awarded to a group of distinguished individuals who are recognized for their contributions to laser surgery, laser technology, and their roles as educators and pioneers in the fields. This year’s recipients are:

  • Katherine Crothall, PhD, for pioneering contributions to CO2 laser surgical technology
  • Scott A. Siegel, MD, DDS, for pioneering contributions to CO2 laser frenectomy surgery and education
  • Noel Berger, DVM, MS, for outstanding contributions to CO2 laser surgery education

The Kumar Patel Prize in Laser Surgery will be presented at the American Laser Study Club’s Annual Symposia. This year’s two Symposia will be held in San Antonio, TX. They include Breathe and Thrive (February 17-19) and the Veterinary Laser Surgery Symposium (May 19-20).  To learn more about the Symposia visit https://www.americanlaserstudyclub.org/symposium.

About Katherine Crothall, PhD

Katherine (Kathy) D. Crothall is the inventor of the RF Excited transverse laser, which has become the standard excitation configuration for CO2 surgical lasers. Utilizing this technology, she co-founded and ran Laakmann Electro-optics (which later became Xanar, Inc- a J&J company) which introduced the first surgical CO2 laser with a sealed-off laser tube. She later invented the first commercially viable hollow fiber for the delivery of CO2 laser energy which obviated the need for articulating arms. Utilizing these technologies, she co-founded and ran Luxar Corporation. Luxar introduced the first truly portable surgical CO2 laser suitable for medical, dental, and veterinary offices. LightScalpel, Inc has continued to develop and improve both the CO2 laser and hollow fiber technology initially developed by Laakmann Electro-Optics and Luxar: this evolution has allowed efficient and ergonomic delivery of accurately controlled beam shapes and pulse formats- which in turn has allowed applications one should not even consider with articulating arms, such as a laser frenectomy. Delivery of a highly focused laser beam in the mouth of a small uncooperative child would be dangerous with an articulating arm due to space constraints and the inability to precisely focus the laser beam exiting an articulating arm.

About Scott A. Siegel, MD, DDS

Scott A. Siegel, MD, DDS, FACS, FICS, FAAP, is a board-certified, dual degree MD, DDS, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. Dr. Siegel is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and International College of Surgeons, and the first oral and maxillofacial surgeon awarded Fellowship to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Siegel is also an active member of numerous medical and dental professional organizations.

Dr. Siegel has over 25 years of experience as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and has devoted the past 22 years to the treatment of issues related to tethered oral tissues (TOTs). Dr. Siegel has performed over 30,000 tethered oral tissue surgical procedures to date and is an internationally recognized pioneer in the field.

Educated at the State University of New York at Stony Brook Schools of Medicine and School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Siegel maintains a private practice based in New York City and Long Island, NY.

During his surgical residency and in private practice, Dr. Siegel was mentored by the world-renowned pediatric surgeon and tongue-tie pioneer Elizabeth “Betty” Coryllos, MD, FACS, FRCS, FAAP, and assumed her practice upon her retirement.

Dr. Siegel has been treating TOTs patients with lasers for the past 22 years ranging from infants to adults.

Dr. Siegel lectures internationally, conducts clinical research, and publishes on topics related to TOTs, including aerodigestive disorders related to TOTs. Dr. Siegel is known for his work regarding Aerophagia Induced Reflux (AIR), utilizing ultrasound to understand the kinematics and tongue motility before and after frenotomy. Dr. Siegel is currently working as a clinical investigator in two major IRB-approved clinical research projects. Dr. Siegel is working in collaboration with the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University and Tel Aviv University to understand the kinematics of tongue movement in infants, children, and adults with ankyloglossia. Dr. Siegel is also working with the Child Development Lab at the City University of New York, investigating objective parameters of infant sleep before and after lingual frenectomy.

About Noel Berger, DVM, MS

Noel Berger DVM, MS, DABLS is a 1988 graduate of the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell. He also earned an MS degree in Veterinary Clinical Sciences in 1989 from Cornell University by studying Feline Leukemia testing and vaccination responses. Following a residency in pathology at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, MA, he entered private small animal veterinary practice and has been a clinician for over 35 years.

He was certified in 2000 by the American Board of Laser Surgery in veterinary surgery, physics, and safety. He is the first author of several peer-reviewed papers in veterinary laser surgery, laboratory diagnostics, and stem cell therapy. These works were published in prestigious journals such as JAVMA, Cornell Vet, DVM News, and Vet Med SA Practice. He has co-authored several book chapters (Gotthelf LN, Small Animal Ear Diseases: An Illustrated Guide; BSAVA, Manual of Canine and Feline Surgical Principles; Winkler CJ, Laser Surgery in Veterinary Medicine) and published a textbook on small animal laser surgery in 2006 with his co-author, Dr. Peter Eeg.

Dr. Berger created Boston Road Animal Clinic in 1993 and highlighted laser surgery as a primary focus of the mission and purpose of the practice. He sold that entity in 2009 to an associate and then relocated to Charlotte, NC. There, he bought a coastal small animal practice, naming it the Animal Hospital and Laser Center of South Carolina. This practice was also sold several years later. Dr. Berger then took a sabbatical for a year as a Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian. This career move was unsatisfying since it did not include laser surgery at all! Returning to a general referral practice in 2019, Dr. Berger continues to advance his surgical skills, and now offers TPLO, MPL, BOAS correction, and other laser-assisted procedures at a specialty hospital in Tampa, FL.

Dr. Berger has completed the requirements of the Laser Institute of America for the safe and judicious use of lasers in surgery. He maintains membership in several laser surgical professional organizations. He holds Fellowship and Faculty status of the American Laser Study Club and delights in teaching the safe techniques required to minimize post-surgical pain and inflammation using lasers. Whatever is next in the world of veterinary laser surgery, you can be assured that Dr. Berger will want to be a part of it.

While his three children are grown and following their own professional quests, Noel and Gayle, his wife of over 31 years, enjoy many pursuits together. They enjoy kayaking, swimming, SCUBA, fishing, and eating food outdoors. Indoor wine tasting is also a newfound hobby that has proven fruitful and intriguing. Thanks for spending some time reading about Dr. Noel Berger, he appreciates your interest.

About the Kumar Patel Laser Surgery Prize

The American Laser Study Club created the Kumar Patel Prize in Laser Surgery in 2018 to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of laser surgery through their research, education, or practice. The prize is presented each year at the ALSC Annual Symposia.

The first recipient of the Kumar Patel Prize was Dr. Kumar Patel himself, who received the award in 2018 in recognition of his development of the CO2 laser in 1964. The CO2 laser is widely regarded as the best surgical laser due to its ability to accurately remove one layer of cells at a time through its effective absorption by histological water and its delicate ability to seal off blood vessels.

In 2019, the Kumar Patel Laser Surgery Prize was awarded to Robert A. Strauss, DDS, MD; John C. Godbold Jr., DVM; and Warren B. Seiler, MD.

In 2020, the Kumar Patel Laser Surgery Prize was awarded to David Duclos, DVM, DACVD; and Martin Kaplan, DMD.

In 2021, the Kumar Patel Laser Surgery Prize was awarded to Richard Baxter, DMD, MS; and Christopher Winkler, DVM.

In 2022, the Kumar Patel Laser Surgery Prize was awarded to Robert M. Pick, DDS, MS; L. Miguel Carreira, PhD, DTO, DMD, DVM; and Pedro Azevedo, DVM, MSc.

About the American Laser Study Club

The American Laser Study Club (ALSC) was founded in 2017 to provide education and training on lasers in dentistry and surgery. The organization promotes evidence-based laser surgery, dentistry, and safety education. The ALSC helps healthcare professionals, including physicians, dentists, veterinarians, and practice staff members, to use lasers safely and effectively in their practices.

The ALSC’s website, https://www.americanlaserstudyclub.org, provides additional information on the organization and its resources.

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