Costs Vs. Benefits (continued)

With its "quadrant" fractional technology and a more tightly focused beam, the MiXto SX laser delivers uniform tissue ablation to the deep dermis causing immediate contraction and tissue tightening.  A secondary effect is the production of new collagen over the next 6-12 weeks, which improves skin elasticity and restores a more youthful appearance. 

One of the reasons we bought the MiXto SX laser is that it was the only such system capable of delivering both a long or short pulse with fractional technology.  The advantage is how precisely we can deliver energy to tissue.  The functional clinical effect is similar to some high-end, non-ablative skin resurfacing systems that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

When we bought the system, we found it very useful both to our cosmetic laser skin resurfacing practice and to our general medical practice.  It provides us a more precise, delicate way to treat patients' skin with ablation, thermo-coagulation, or both: we decide how much, where and how deep to offer such treatment in virtually any combination.

The clinical results are excellent, with full treatments on a par with traditional CO2 laser treatments.  Recently, for instance, we treated a patient with very deep acne scars on her cheeks.  If we had used a traditional CO2 laser in pure ablative mode, we would have progressively ablated then wiped smooth areas of scarring, over and over, going deeper into the skin each time.  Considering how deep the scarring was, however, we would have risked skin color changes had we gone deep enough to do the job.  And the "hard downtime," where skin scabs, crusts or oozes while healing, would have taken up to 14 days.

Instead, with the MiXto SX laser, we were able to knock off the high points of scarring and smooth those areas.  Then using a long pulse in a less ablative mode, we stimulated the whole region to remodel and raise itself.  The result was excellent, with her hard downtime done in seven days, so she could get on with her life.  She was able to show off her new pink skin, in half the time, with less pain or clinical risk.

With the fractional laser skin resurfacing, we've basically cut the hard downtime in half compared to traditional CO2 laser skin resurfacing systems.  With lighter facial treatments, downtime can be as short as 48 hours, which makes treatment in a single long weekend possible.

One of the reasons we're satisfied with the fractional laser system is that it's built to last as a stable platform, with a variety of attachments extending its usefulness.

For our general practice, the MiXto SX laser has proven very versatile, with attachments such as a laser scalpel and micro-manipulator enhancing its value.  We've successfully used it on everything from wart, corn and cyst removal to treatment of skin tags, actinic keratosis, and bloodless abscess/drainage.

We routinely use the laser scalpel 5-10 times a day in our general practice alone.  It makes minor surgery or treatment quick and virtually painless and bloodless, with essentially no preparation necessary.

While no doctor or specialist practices medicine solely for the money, the fractional laser paid for itself at our clinics within the first three months.  The laser scalpel attachment paid for itself even faster, within one week.  Our cosmetic and general medicine practices have grown in patient load and profitability by 15 to 20 percent each year in the past two years and referrals have increased, though the fractional technology isn't the sole reason.

At a time when economic instability is weighing down the national economy and pressure is felt throughout the medical community as well, the new fractional laser technology has helped us to stay on the cutting edge of both clinical results and practice management.

Dr. Mark Kofford, M.D., Ph.D. and Dr. Jeannine Wills-Kofford, owner-operators of the Kofford Clinic and Riviera Laser Studios in Dana Point, California.  Keep up on their general medical and aesthetic practice management experiences, solutions and picks on their blog at www.rivieralaser.com.