In this chapter we focus on the key elements that form our current understanding of the mechanisms of pulsed laser ablation of soft biological tissues. We present a conceptual framework providing mechanistic links between various ablation applications and the underlying thermodynamic and phase change processes . We define pulsed laser ablation as the use of laser pulses with duration of ~1 ms or less for the incision or removal of tissue regardless of the photophysical or photochemical processes involved. However, we will confine this presentation to pulsed ablation performed on a tissue level that does not involve laser-induced plasma formation. Ablation processes within transparent tissues or cells resulting from non-linear absorption have been considered in reviews by Vogel and Venugopalan  and by Vogel and co-workers .