From the January 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
By Andrea Alstad
The use of lasers for cosmetic treatments has grown significantly in the last 20 years.
The demand for non-invasive treatments to address skin issues places lasers at the forefront of aesthetic procedures. Developments in technology have brought us almost to the limits of wavelength possibilities in lasers. Recent trends focus on determining the optimal methods to use for specific treatments and the tweaking of devices to gain better performance and improved safety. Further, cosmetic treatments are evolving by using additional energy-based technologies to enhance lasers, including focused ultrasound and radiofrequency.
Dr. Robert A. Weiss of the MD Laser, Skin and Vein Institute in Hunt Valley, Maryland and president-elect of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, is actively involved in the research and development of non-invasive cosmetic treatments. He is the author of over 150 publications, multiple textbooks and is an invited speaker for hundreds of worldwide scientific presentations. Weiss shared his thoughts on developments in the field of lasers and other energy-based devices for cosmetic use.
Are we on the same wavelength? Sorting through the cosmetic laser options
Numed, a well established company in business since 1975 provides a wide range of service options including time & material service, PM only contracts, full service contracts, labor only contracts & system relocation. Call 800 96 Numed for more info.
“The list of manufacturers and devices sold for cosmetic use today probably numbers in the hundreds at this point, so to narrow it down, it is better to think about the application first, rather than the device,” says Weiss.
One of the most common treatment areas that a dermatology practice addresses is the effects of sun exposure and photoaging. A practice may start with an intense-pulsed laser (IPL) device, where multiple wavelengths are administered at the same time. The IPL is probably the least complex and least costly device so it is often the first device that a practice purchases. Sometimes termed a “photo facial” treatment, IPL may treat a number of issues like pigmentation, texture and broken blood vessels all at the same time. A larger practice, with multiple health care providers, is able to make use of multiple devices which have a narrower focus and select the best laser or device in each category to treat more complex or stubborn cases.
Lasers for improving skin texture and treating photoaging currently fall into one of two categories, ablative and non-ablative, which are typically now both fractional lasers, treating a fractional portion of the skin. Ablative lasers work by destroying portions of the skin and causing the adjacent and treated skin to form collagen and heal into smoother skin. These are effective in cases of severe sun damage and pigmentation. The trade-off is the longer recovery period and need for greater pain management. Non-ablative and fractional resurfacing lasers, on the other hand, do not damage as much skin, but work from deeper layers to stimulate new collagen. While not as painful and with less down time, the tradeoff comes in the need for more treatments to produce desired results.