Flexible acoustic waveguides for selective tissue fragmentation are not yet commercially available. Experimental studies have shown the possibility of transmission of acoustical transients via optical silica glass fibers. The aim of this project is the development of a new endoscopic application system that would enable surgeons to use the laser and the ultrasound technique for therapy simultaneously. The concept of this application system is based on the transmission of laser radiation and ultrasound power via flexible silica glass fibers. Theoretical and experimental results on the feasibility of such an application system for an ultrasonic power delivery system are presented. Piezo-electric transducers are used to provide a high efficiency in generating the ultrasonic power. With reference to the CUSA-technique, a special flexible guiding system has been designed for providing aspiration at the tip and for protection of the fiber. The system transmits via an optical fiber up to 100 Watt Nd:YAG laser radiation. The axial oscillation of the fiber tip is +/- micrometers at a frequency of 27 kHz. First results of in vitro experiments are presented. The parenchymatous cells of liver can be fragmented without destruction of the collagenous matrix. The laser can be optionally used to coagulate bleedings or to cut collagenous tissues in contact. Applications for an acoustical and optical waveguide in ultrasonic surgery are demonstrated. This new approach in developing a first application system for the therapeutical use of laser radiation and power ultrasound in minimal invasive surgery via optical waveguides offers new possibilities in surgery. The laser ultrasonic surgical therapy (LUST) with its thin and flexible applicator provides new working fields especially for neuro or liver surgery. The tip can be bent and thus areas which could not be treated before have now been made accessible. Without changing the instrumentation, the surgeon can use the laser for tissue coagulation or cutting, next to the selective ultrasonic tissue fragmentation, where nerves or vessels will not be affected. Such a LUST-application system could be ready for clinical use in two to four years.© (1996) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.