The Beauty and the Buzz at ASLMS

Just like many of you, my day is scheduled from morning to night and I am lucky if I can grab a bite to eat in between patients. It’s a real challenge to carve out time for professional development (and lunch). That’s why I appreciate the annual conferences hosted by the professional organizations. I can block out that time months in advance knowing that I will come back with new ideas.  

The American Society for Laser Medicine & Surgery (ASLMS) is on my must attend list year after year. It’s probably the best in the world for exchanging ideas and real science in the world of aesthetics, and not just marketing hype.

This year was no different. The 2014 meeting held in Phoenix, AZ was full of ideas. So many ideas that I wish I had a longer flight home to research them all.

When I returned my staff asked “What was the highlight”? The truth is there were so many highlights. I came home with so many pearls of wisdom about so many different areas of practice. I’d like to share a few of them with you.

Privacy Laws    
This year brings changes in HIPAA privacy and security rules. There are new rules addressing the sale of protected health information for marketing and fund raising purposes. There are new rules surrounding business associates that you contract with. There are also new waves of audits to ensure compliance. The meeting was a call to action to get my staff prepared for the new guidelines.
Under Eye Bags
For those of you not familiar with Neotensil, I suggest you take a look. It is a new film-like substance, made by a hair care line Living Proof, which reduces the appearance of undereye bags. It’s sold through physicians’ offices, but applied by the patient at home.  
Injectable Filler Technique
Take that extra care, that extra wipe step, with Voluma and other facial fillers. When injecting fillers in the hollows of the lateral orbit, think microcannulas with a lateral point temple zygomatic point of entry.  And on those crow’s feet, think of almost individual dosing per severity of lines at those two to three lateral orbit injection points. I also learned about pre-injection disinfecting wipe pads that combine clorhexidine with isopropyl alcohol.
Acne Suppression
There was a lot of buzz about keeping acne at bay using combinations of both short pulsed and long pulsed YAG lasers. It seems a paradox, but patients did better long term when they did laser acne treatments after finishing a course of antibiotics.  For patients with unresponsive rosacea pustular acne, think SIBO or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and order a lactulose breath test screen.  
For that post treatment unintended or inconvenient bruise, think of speeding up its disappearing act with an IPL treatment about 2 days after.  
Tattoo Removal
Here is a tip for tattoo removal for those of you not yet into Picosecond lasers. Treat the area through a hydrocolloid dressing, such as Second Skin.  
Noninvasive Fat Removal
There was a ton of chatter, all of it exciting, about noninvasive fat removal. The players are CoolSculpting,  Liposonix and the newest kid on the block, Vanquish.

Some of the above ideas are reality for me. We added Vanquish to our list of noninvasive fat removal a few months back. It’s a great fit for our practice and patients. Other ideas may not be a fit. But that’s the beauty of the meeting. With so many new products and protocols shared in one space, you are bound to come back with ideas to push your practice forward.  

ArTek ~ ThermoTek: How to Stand Out in the Crowd

I just returned from attending the ASLMS conference in Washington, DC. The cherry blossoms were in full bloom and the laser and IPL manufacturers were in full force!

As expected, all of the companies displayed their equipment there for us to see and play with. With the current technology present, came the vision of new technologies balancing on the horizon. One can almost envision the progression of technological development when you're at ASLMS as all of the companies seem to be racing to release that next perfect modality that will change the face of aesthetic medicine as we know it.

What presence these companies displayed with their engineers and physicists standing along side of their sales force. Once, where you would discuss the steps of treating various conditions, you now find yourself discussing, and more curiously, understanding the importance of discussing pertinent wavelengths and wattage.

I can seriously envision one day stepping into a sort-of tanning booth, being hit with a flash of laser light, and stepping out of the booth with 3 inches of fat shed from my waist. Almost reminiscent of the Jetsons, this technology is truly within our grasps! Parents sending your children to college for the first time, relish in the thought of them becoming engineers or physicists for they surely will have a booming career in aesthetic medicine!

One cannot peruse through Medical Spa MD without coming across the gripes and concerns of disgruntled laser owners completely dissatisfied with how they were handled and treated after the sale. I, for one, would like to give you a story of hope by posting some positive words for a change about a little company with a big conception of customer service. So much so that it should be a considered a text book gold standard for anyone struggling in today's aesthetic market

I'd like to tell you about ArTek, the manufacturer of ThermoTek, an air chiller we use for laser skin resurfacing. In shipping back to the company for firmware flashing, the carrier dropped the box and smashed our unit. Busy as we are in our practice, no one thought to add the extra insurance and the carrier only was responsible for $100 of damage. We were now out $5000 just like THAT!

ArTek had such compassion for our situation that they completely took care of us and rushed repairs to the unit, as well as expedited shipping, so we could have it back in time in our office for our patient's resurfacing procedure.

I saw them at ASLMS. I walked up to them and extended my hand and introduced myself. They knew who I was and recounted my plight. I sincerely thanked each one of them personally for caring enough about my situation, about my patients who needed this device for comfort, and for forgoing the cost of the repair bill due to the shipping company's error.

To all of you laser companies, (and you know who you are as you've already been singled out!) take notice of this excellent display of customer service. THIS is how you take care of your customers and THIS is how you stay a leader in the aesthetic marketplace. 

Great technology is good for about 3 years...

Outstanding customer service lasts a lifetime!

Author: Paula D. Young RN runs internal operations and training at Young Medical Spa and is the author of the Medical Spa Aesthetics Course, Study Guide, and Advanced IPL & Laser Training course for medical estheticians and laser technicians.

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