Things to Consider when Purchasing a Unit
What is the Wavelength and is it right for me?
The wavelength of your laser or phototherapy device is quite important and will have an effect on your treatment outcomes. The shorter the wavelength, the more shallow the penetration (e.g. 830nm will penetrate deeper than 660nm). If you are looking for a unit designed primarily for wound healing, you would want a unit with a shorter wavelength. Conversely, for deeper treatments (muscles, nerve treatments, etc.), a unit with a longer wavelength may be the ideal choice. Along with wavelength, the dose, treatment location and power are very important for optimal treatment outcomes.
What Power should my laser have and are higher powered lasers better?
The power of the device, as well as the wavelength and dose are all important to achieving optimal treatment outcomes. However, it is important to remember that higher powered devices does not mean better therapy, and in fact can be inhibitory in many situations.
Is a Laser better than an SLD?
There are a few differences between a Laser and a Superluminous Diode (SLD). A laser is monochromatic (produce light at one wavelength) and coherent. A SLD emits narrow band and non-coherent light, and are frequently used in clusters. Over the years, there has been a lot of debate about whether a “true” laser produces superior effects to a SLD light source. Some research has indicated, that light is light. A lot of the coherence is lost in the first few lasers of tissue, thus making the light source unimportant. Nevertheless, it does seem that in deeper tissues a laser will provide a better clinical result. In short, however, treatment outcomes are mainly dependent on wavelength and dose, not the light source.
Training & Support
Your laser is only as good as the training and support you receive. A laser that isn’t used properly is virtually an expensive door stop. It is important that you receive the proper training on laser safety and proper use of your unit, as well as having a clear understanding of the clinical effects of laser therapy. It is important to be using the correct dose to optimize treatment results and to understand how to determine the appropriate dose for different situations. A good laser distributor will also keep up-to-date on recommended doses and clinical effects and will share any changes with their customers as the information becomes available.
The terms of the warranty, potential costs associated with servicing and having a loaner unit to use while yours is being repaired are all important aspects to consider during purchase. Therapeutic light devices will quickly become a primary treatment modality in your practice or clinic so ensure you will be taken care of should any repairs need to be done.
What are the intended uses?
There isn’t a laser or light device that is designed for every profession. Make sure that the unit you are purchasing has the components that will make it an asset for your practice instead of an additional stress.
Can I get a return on my investment?
With any treatment modality, you as a clinician need to make money for your treatments as well as providing the very best care for your patients. There are different ways to get a return on your investment depending on what profession you are in. In some professions, there are codes covered by insurance whereas in others, you will be looking at a direct charge to the patient. If you have any questions about a return on investment, be sure to talk to your sales representative so when the time comes that you are ready to purchase a phototherapy system, you can go forward as effectively as possible.
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