Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Clinical Professor Yale University School of Medicine Director Dermatology and Laser Surgery Center New York, NY Lawrence Desjarlais, M.D., F.A.A.D. General, Surgical and Cosmetic Dermatologist Ann Arbor and Adrian, MI. For the millions of potential skin rejuvenation patients who question whether they are willing to accept the pain, downtime and risks associated with traditional ablative, and in some cases non-ablative, laser procedures, the Pixel Q-Switch Module for the Harmony XL platform from Alma Lasers (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) may be the answer.
Dermatologists familiar with this module say it provides what no other fractional non-ablative technology has been able to: a painless treatment with zero downtime. It does so by utilizing a Q-switched 1064 nm Nd:YAG laser beam, which delivers a controlled, pixilated wound at an effective depth without harming the overlying epidermis. According to Macrene Alexiades- Armenakas, M.D., Ph.D., assistant clinical professor at Yale University School of Medicine, and director of the Dermatology and Laser Surgery Center in New York, N.Y., the Pixel Q-Switch is truly non-ablative. “There is no wounding of the epidermis. The 1064 nm beam penetrates to 4 mm, and with the Q-switched nano-bursts, we do not get the collimated thermal damage associated with some other fractionated non-ablative technologies.”
The penetration depth of the wavelength is also important, she said, because, “we want to maximize access to the full thickness of the skin. We want more than a band of rejuvenated collagen to maximize results.” Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas is conducting a study for Alma Lasers focusing on the periorbital, lip, neck and chest areas, which she has identified as high-response areas. “Lip lines are typically resistant to all types of treatments, but the Pixel Q-Switch works very well there,” she said. “This is perhaps due to its penetration depth, which may be significant for areas that are adjacent to mucosa and cartilage.” Additionally, she believes the Pixel Q-Switch will become the treatment of choice for neck and chest resurfacing because of its excellent safety profile.
Also, for skin resurfacing a brief but intense amount of energy in each laser spot is ideal, which is the advantage of the Q-switched approach, said Lawrence Desjarlais, M.D., F.A.A.D., who practices general, surgical and cosmetic dermatology in Ann Arbor and Adrian, Mich. Dr Desjarlais said the technology that drives the Pixel Q-Switch makes it safe for all Fitzpatrick skin types; although he recommends test spots for type VI skin. In Dr Desjarlais’ experience, the laser has been selling itself in his practice. “It is definitely better tolerated. Patients are coming back for their second and third treatments for a reason, and they are sending in their friends.
Some patients would rather have multiple treatment visits to achieve their desired results instead of dealing with more pain and downtime.” Dr Desjarlais also appreciates the speed of the Pixel Q-Switch therapy. “I can finish a face and neck treatment, which is a large area, in 20 to 30 minutes. Furthermore, it’s easy to add to the Harmony XL because of Alma’s unique laser platform approach.”
Considering practice management issues, Dr Alexiades-Armenakas pointed out the Pixel Q-Switch can also be used in a non-fractional manner for tattoo removal, fine lines and wrinkles, scars, striae, rosacea and telangiectasia. “I commend Alma on the fact that no disposables are needed with this module,” she added. “The cost of disposables can really add up and extend the time to return on investment.”