Home > Used Laser Buying Tips > Choosing the Right Used Medical Lasers for Your Practice

Choosing the Right Used Medical Lasers for Your Practice

At the beginning of the laser-buying process, many people already know the laser they want. But it’s a good idea to stop right now and test your decision with this question: Will this laser fit into my practice and my monthly budget?  Buying a laser at the right price is an important first step.  Developing a realistic pro forma of the revenue you anticipate generating from this laser is critical.  The key word here being realistic.  It is important to be sure your revenue numbers are very conservative so you won’t have problems getting a solid ROI on your new device.  If your revenue numbers can easily support the price you are paying for this unit, then it may be the right laser and the right price. 

  • Patient Population.  What kind of population are you serving? gender, age range, ethnic types (Fitzpatrick Skin Types I thru VI), your surrounding competition?  There is no true all-purpose laser platform.  Make your determination FIRST based on your practice profile, then decide on specific platforms.  It is imperative that you objectively identify your market first before making decision on laser machines. This will minimize risks of side effects or poor clinical outcomes or buying the wrong laser platform for your targeted client base.
  • Wavelength.  If you have a patient population of darker skin types and you wish to do laser hair removal, you will need to be sure to have a laser that can treat darker skin, such as a 1064 Nd Yag.  On the same token, if you have a patient population of lighter skin types you want a hair removal laser that best treats this patient base, such as an Alexandrite.  If you have a mix of all skin types, then perhaps a diode laser with a long pulse width would be the best fit for you.
  • Profitability.  If you want your practice to be profitable, you must focus on HIGH DOLLAR / HIGH MARGIN treatments.  In general, the most worthwhile investment to focus on is skin resurfacing, skin tightening and body shaping (laser lipolysis, Radio Frequency).  People are willing to spend big dollars to rejuvenate and tighten their face and sculpt their body.  Selling larger packages typically means combination therapy which results in happier clients.  It is important that you understand that your goal of increased revenue is aligned with the client wanting the best results possible  Small packages or single treatments typically do not yield good results and the client walks away dissatisfied – never to return!
  • Spot size.   The spot size of a laser determines how much skin area can be covered per laser pulse.  Lasers with larger spot sizes can cover more area much more quickly. For example, a laser hair removal treatment of the back or full legs could take as long as 2 hours with older lasers. Today, these areas can be completely treated in less than 20 minutes.  The spot size not only determines the speed and comfort of the treatment, but the efficacy as well.
  • Hertz.  The hertz, or pulses per second, tells you how fast the laser emits each pulse.  Some lasers can go as fast as 3 pulses per second, which allows you to cover more surface area faster.  This is an important feature, especially for laser hair removal lasers.
  • Consumables.  Some aesthetic devices are very expensive to operate, however it may still be worth your while IF you are able to charge higher prices with these same medical devices.  Some examples of consumables include:  Single use treatment tips, Cryogen Canisters, Coupling Fluid, Lightguides, Handpieces with a certain pulse life, Filters, Fibers, etc.  You need to factor in the cost of these consumables as you create your pro forma revenue to determine your break even costs and profits.

Understanding the Technology:  3 Key Improvements to the Face:  The 3 Ts.

To assist in determining what technology is best for which procedure, we have developed a very simple model that helps the practitioner to know what aesthetic equipment may best fit his practice and his patient population.  For simplicity’s sake, I use the following rejuvenation model called the “3 Ts”.

a)     Tone (Even Color).  The goals of even color are to eliminate pigmentation and redness (facial veins)

b)     Texture (Smooth Skin).  The goals of texture are to smooth rough skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles

c)      Tighten (Skin Tightness & Fullness). The goal of tightening is to reduce skin laxity caused by solar elastosis, aging and other skin oxidants.

The following chart diagrams the available aesthetic procedures and their role assisting in one of the three areas of Tone, Texture or Tighten.  On a scale of 1 to 3, a 1 is considered the most effective treatment for the designated area of Tone, Texture, or Tighten while a 3 is considered the least effective treatment2 is considered middle of the road and not as effective.

3 Key Areas of Improvement to the Face
1 = Best Treatment, 2 = Helpful Treatment, 3 = Least Effective Treatment

Procedure

Tone

Texture

Tighten

Advantages Disadvantages
Portrait Plasma

3

1

1

Single treatment 5-7 days of downtime
CO2 Fractional

3

1

1

Great results 3-5 days of downtime
RF Fractional

3

1

2

Little to No downtime Series of treatments
Erbium Fractional Resurfacing

2

1

3

Little to No downtime Series of treatments
Thermage & Accent RF

2

1

No downtime, “permanent” Variable results
Permanent Fillers

2

1

Immediate Results Potential side events
Temporary Fillers

1

2

Immediate Results Temporary results
IPL

1

2

No downtime Series of treatments
Botox™

1

Quick, predictable results Temporary results / repeat necessary

In general, for fine wrinkle (crow’s feet) you can go with fractional skin resurfacing.  For moderate to deeper ones, this is more difficult. You can go with Portrait Rhytec, CO2, Thermage, Velashape or Alma Accent.  With Thermage or Accent, you get the added “lifting” effect which work better on the sagging wrinkles/skin as in the jowls or the droopy upper eyelids though a strong full ablative CO2 as in Luminis Active FX can do such for the eyelids.

Sometimes, wrinkles can also be corrected with fillers such as Radiesse, Perlane or Restylane as those on forehead or glabellar. Wrinkles can also result from tissue atrophy in the mid and lower face. In these instances, an AUGMENTATIVE volumizing injection (with Perlane or Radiesse) will stretch out the loose skin thus not only fading out the wrinkles and folds but also giving the lifting effects.

Be sure to ask your broker his opinion of the laser her or she recommends and why.  This will help you to determine how knowledgeable the broker is regarding the laser technology they are selling you.  Often the broker may have hands-on experience working with the laser in question.  If so, that is a plus because it shows the broker has some hands-on laser operations experience.

Vin Wells, MHSA
www.RockBottomLasers.com
800-794-1097

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  1. November 19, 2012 at 8:43 pm

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    • vinwells
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