Headline from ASLMS: cosmetic laser surgery not always best
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
An article in the Orlando Sentinel
covering the recent laser meeting in Orlando (American Society for Laser Medicine & Surgery, also known as "ASLMS") came out with this headline. I thought it would be educational to look at the article in more detail, and comment on it.
"...of all the procedures, hair removal seemed to deliver best on its promise. The before and after photos presenters showed of vascular lesions - particularly the small broken blood vessels on the side of the nose and red birthmarks - also showed clear improvement"
I agree. These are mature laser technologies, and do work effectively.
"Least impressive were results from laser-assisted body contouring and face and neck lifting. One practitioner on the body contour panel said that in only 20% of cases where a patient had the non-invasive Cool Sculpting procedure were both the doctor and the patient satisfied..."
I agree here too. It's hard to beat a well-performed liposuction with either PAL or standard tumescent techniques, or a traditional surgical facelift. The laser-assisted liposuction devices are still evolving and changing every year. Manufacturers and surgeons can't seem to agree on which wavelength, power and other parameters are the best for these fat-busting lasers - which tells you that they really don't yet know. I'm surprised that the satisfaction number is only 20%. That's really dismally low for laser liposuction.
Discussing laser treatments of the face & neck, the report quotes Dr, Zelickson, a renowned laser researcher and developer of the Zeltiq, "In many cases, results are very modest; tightening is hard to measure."
Truthful words from Dr. Z. That's one reason why I don't use Ulthera - the results are too darn subtle. I think patients want to see obvious visible improvements without having to scrutinize their before and after photos for minor improvements.
"Patients need to do their homework and not go off a billboard", said Dr. Geronemus.
Truer words were never spoken!
So even though a procedure with the word "laser" attached to it sounds all high-tech and cool, it's not always the best choice. Be sure to check out the alternatives.
Thomas Fiala, MD
Add your comments:
Items in bold indicate required information.