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First-hand experience with LED: One doctor's story

Article-First-hand experience with LED: One doctor's story

Deer Valley, Utah — Oculoplastic and facial cosmetic surgeon Richard L. Anderson, M.D., is not ready to bet the farm on light-emitting diode therapy (LED) for skin rejuvenation just yet. But he is excited about the results that he, his staff and his patients have achieved using the GentleWaves LED (Light BioScience) technology.

He is enthusiastic about the possibility of a therapy that does not "damage" the skin's surface or cause any thermal injury, but rather works below the skin, penetrating it to activate and energize cells — increasing collagen and elastin production.

"A lot of people equate LED with lasers. LED is not a laser. It is a part of a movement in the field away from lasers and into more light therapies," Dr. Anderson says.

"Before" and "after" photos of patients treated wth GentleWaves LED photomodulation.
Dr. Anderson, medical director of the Center for Facial Appearances and former professor and chief at the universities of Iowa and Utah, has spoken at professional meetings about concerns about heavy laser resurfacing. A surgeon who has worked with lasers since the 1970s when the CO2 laser first came out as a cutting tool, Dr. Anderson says that over-treatment with the laser and misuse of the technology have resulted in high complication rates. "You have the opportunity to do a lot of damage with the laser. For surgical treatment, I greatly prefer the tactile feel you get with a scalpel versus a laser," he says.

"Another concern with CO2 laser resurfacing is the management of patients. It was almost like having a burn unit in the office."

He says it was quite tedious and time-consuming for physicians to treat CO2 laser patients. "Some results were pretty good, but in a lot of cases, I felt like the skin lost its life and color. There usually was a step-off line from treatment and non-treatment areas. Even with time, the skin looked washed out," he says.

Anderson has gone back to using trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels as his staple resurfacing method. "The CO2 laser has become a paperweight in the closet," he says.

An LED skeptic Dr. Anderson admits that, at first, he thought a device that required sitting in front of flashing lights for 35 seconds, with no pain and not even a blush, must be part of a scam. "You would think a fluorescent light would do as much," he says.

"Before" and "after" photos of patients treated wth GentleWaves LED photomodulation.
But because trusted colleagues told him it worked, he tried it himself on his staff, and offered it to patients with a money-back guarantee.

It was the first time Dr. Anderson had offered a financial guarantee to patients undergoing treatment. "I think I have a big enough practice and a good enough reputation that I was not going to jeopardize it with technology that I was uncertain about," he says, adding that he also offered the guarantee because treatments, while effective, are slow to show results. Typically, patients do not see much improvement until three months, after a series of eight to 10 treatments. He also had his own uncertainties to quell.

"Any time product, research and information are created by people who have motive for financial gain, you have to question it. I will say that there is some pretty good science by some pretty good people who have a financial interest in the instrument," he says.

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