The Turtle Hospital has done an incredible job by successfully removing a massive 14.2-pound tumor from a sea turtle’s flipper.

Terry Norton, DVM, used an Aesculight CO2 laser to remove a 14.2-pound tumor from the flipper of Chomper, a juvenile loggerhead sea turtle. This tumor was the largest tumor removed at the Turtle Hospital since its inception in 1986.

Dr. Norton was able to save the flipper and avoid massive blood loss with help from an Aesculight CO2 laser. As it vaporizes tissue, the Aesculight CO2 laser seals small blood vessels, thereby reducing bleeding and preserving good visualization of the treatment area. The laser does not tear or bruise the tissue. That is because the tissue is contacted only by the laser light. Reduced trauma to the tissue, along with the laser’s ability to seal blood and lymphatic vessels as it cuts, results in less post-operative swelling.



After the complete removal of the tumor, Chomper, who before the surgery had low blood pressure, received a blood transfusion from Madea, a non-releasable loggerhead sea turtle living at the Turtle Hospital. Dr. Norton is cautiously optimistic Chomper will make a full recovery.

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