Why I Chose the Cutera XEO Laser Platform for the Aspen Institute of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
Lasers are everywhere. They play a role in almost every facet of our life. From steel production to medical procedures, lasers are continually utilized for their precision and dependability. (Lasers are not just for Sci Fi movies anymore!) It is interesting to consider what the scientists who invented lasers in the 1950s would think of their discovery now. This is especially true for cosmetic lasers. Everywhere you turn, a dermatologist, aesthetic physician, facial plastic surgeon or plastic & reconstructive surgeon is touting the latest and greatest laser therapy treatment. It is laser mania.
Many patients ask if they need a laser treatment but most have no idea what these treatments involve. It is rare for a patient to understand how these lasers work or why we choose to use them, especially in concert with other treatments. There is an overwhelming amount of diversity in the type and quality of lasers used in my field. One could spend days researching these devices and still have little tangible information to determine what makes one laser platform more desirable than the other. In the hopes of helping you avoid endless hours of Google/Bing searches, I have put together a short paragraph on how a laser works.
Warning: Please drink the extra cup of coffee or caffeine-infused tea now to avoid falling asleep.
LASER 101: The word laser is actually an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Lasers have one primary function: they emit a strong and uniform beam of light. Remember from your fifth grade science class that all light (visible and non-visible) is measured in wavelengths. Most light, like light from the sun or a light bulb, is not uniform since there are multiple wavelengths present (all visible colors mixed together into a white light). Lasers, on the other hand, can emit one specific wavelength of light, technically termed “monochromatic light”. What really makes lasers unique is that these devices not only emit light at one predetermined wavelength, but they are done so with a large amount of energy focused on either very small or large surface areas. As it pertains to cosmetic lasers, they can be made to produce focused light, at a specific wavelength, at a specific level of energy, at a specific depth of skin penetration, and for a specific amount of time.
Laser Wavelengths are the Key
So what does this have to do with making your face look better? Here is why this matters: what has been found over decades of research is that different wavelengths of light are absorbed by different aspects of the skin. Pigmented skin spots, hair follicles, small blood vessels, wrinkled skin, and tattoos are all affected by different wavelengths of light. In the end, a laser emits a strong and focused light that positively affects different parts of the skin depending primarily on the set wavelength. By focusing a lot of energy into the skin, it removes the problem area, makes skin look more youthful and helps new skin cells grow.
The next obvious question is: If the effect of a laser really only depends on the wavelength of light emitted, is there any difference between two lasers from two different companies that emit the same wavelength of light? The answer is categorically, YES.
Best Choice for Laser
When I purchased my laser system for my office here in Aspen, Colorado, I conducted extensive research into the higher-end systems on the market. Most had similar capabilities, but in the end I chose the Cutera XEO system. Below is a list of reasons why I believe the Cutera XEO system is the best cosmetic laser platform on the market:
1. The most important aspencts of my laser system choice were dependability and accuracy. Clearly, it would be very unsafe to have a laser that does not function consistently over time. Imagine if your doctor found the optimal setting on the laser for hair removal that worked well for a majority of patients, but the setting proved not to be accurate and the patient had an undesirable outcome like scarring. Many lesser-priced laser systems are poorly engineered and do not offer a high level of dependability. Unfortunately, many practices choose lower-level systems to save on the costs of equipment. The patients are left with the results from an inferior laser system that ultimately leads to higher levels of dissatisfaction.
2. During my extensive evaluation process, I was also very impressed with the diversity of treatments that could be done with the Cutera XEO system:
- LimeLight for pigmented skin spots and small blood vessels (including spider veins)
- ProWave for hair removal
- Genesis and Titan for skin tightening
- Pearl and Pearl Fractional to improve skin quality and to remove wrinkles
Even though other systems offer this wide of a range of treatments, I found that the Cutera XEO system performed better in each category. It is analogous to a sports team that is fortunate to have the best player in the league at every position. This does not guarantee that the outcomes of treatment would be perfect (that is why good doctors and laser technicians are very important) but it does provide you with the best options for treatment.
3. The Cutera XEO system is ergonomic. It is clear that the designers of this system really considered how the laser would be used by the doctor or aesthetician in the clinical setting. All of the handles and attachments work well during treatment. The safe settings are pre-programmed into the system to avoid inadvertent and unsafe elevation of the settings during treatment. Moreover, the interface, where the settings are controlled, is extremely simple to use. The laser is also easy to clean, insuring that patients have a hygienic environment during a procedure. Furthermore, Cutera offers the most comprehensive and long term warranty of any major laser distributor, thus ensuring that any issues will be fixed in a timely manner.
4. I was impressed with Cutera’s company philosophy. As with high-end automobile manufacturers, Cutera takes excellent care during the research and development phase of these lasers to confirm a higher level of functionality. Given their emphasis on due diligence, they do not flood the market with new lasers every few months. Furthermore, the company realizes that a cosmetic laser is additive and does not replace sound basic skin care. Cutera encourages the use of other products along with their laser treatments, like Obagi, with the understanding that outcomes will be improved with a multi-prong approach.
In a future post, I will delve into the specifics of each type of laser treatments. Check out the links above to broaden your knowledge of cosmetic lasers.
The most important advice I can give to any patient considering a laser procedure is to do your homework. Make sure that the facility that offers these treatments has a high-quality laser device and a medical doctor on site. In our clinic in Aspen, Colorado, we have two Board Certified Plastic Surgeons administering a large majority of our laser treatments. Any treatments that are not completed by the physician are directed by the physician on site. Furthermore, we have the most advanced laser system in our region. These two essential factors give our patients a high level of confidence that their laser treatments will be effective and successful.
One last point. I do not work for Cutera and I have no financial interest in their company. Other laser platforms are available from companies like Palomar and Cynosure that I believe are competitive. But from an objective standpoint and from a slightly subjective standpoint (I have had this laser for a year now), the Cutera XEO system is hands down the winner.