3 μm Er:ZBLAN fiber lasers have many advantages for surgical applications compared to other lasers. Some key advantages include variable pulse width (CW to ~100 μs), high repetition rate (>1 kHz) and relatively high and easily adjustable average power (0 to >10 watts) in a compact air-cooled package. In addition, the simplicity of the laser increases reliability and decreases cost. In this paper, we describe some preliminary experiments with the use of such an Er:ZBLAN surgical fiber laser for the ablation of porcine otic capsule bone tissue; in particular, we describe ablation characteristics as a function of pulse energy and pulse duration.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.