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Expand service solutions without major investments

Key iconKey Points

  • Even when manufacturers don't have their own rental programs, their devices may still be available through third-party medical equipment firms
  • Practices taking advantage of rentals range from start-ups to those looking to build a client base in a new aesthetic area
  • One financing option that most medical device companies offer is leasing - either in-house or through numerous companies to which they refer customers

Dr. Pariser
For all their bells and whistles, the biggest jolt aesthetic devices often deliver is sticker shock at their price. Whether the device is a gold standard for a treatment or an exciting new technology, an overriding concern for the buyer is that the technology could be obsolete before the five- or, more commonly, six-figure investment is paid off. Recognizing the problem, some medical equipment manufacturers are getting creative with their financing options by offering programs that allow physicians to try out big-ticket devices without making full investments.

SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE For Syneron Medical, the solution is in the form of a "subscription" program for its LipoLite laser-assisted lipolysis system. The LipoLite Energy Access Program (LEAP) allows doctors to use the device for $30,000 the first year, and $15,000 every year thereafter — versus buying a new system for $90,000. Syneron was motivated, in part, by its understanding that laser-assisted lipolysis has faced a fair amount of skepticism. Therefore, giving physicians a chance to try the machine without making a purchase made perfect sense, says Doron Gerstel, CEO of Syneron Medical. "We know there's some concern about this technology and, since many doctors are not risk-takers, they would likely want to make sure it meets their patients' needs before investing."

With enrollment in LEAP, the LipoLite machine comes with 450,000 joules of energy, enough for about 15 to 30 procedures, depending on whether the area being treated is relatively small, such as the chin, or larger, such as the abdomen. And, with the average procedure costing about $3,000 in the U.S., the 15 to 30 procedures would bring in $45,000 to $90,000 — well exceeding the program's annual fee, according to Mr. Gerstel.

Victor Atalla, M.D., a plastic surgeon in Bowling Green, Ky., tells Cosmetic Surgery Times that that revenue formula was key in attracting him to LEAP. "The idea of paying for the device with the revenue it generates was a big selling point for me," he explains. "I was looking for a way to expand my service offerings but was not ready to purchase a device. The shared-investment model gives my practice the opportunity to offer a new, effective and in-demand treatment without worrying about how it will affect my practice's monthly cash flow."

PAY PER USE PhotoMedex, which makes the XTRAC excimer laser, used to treat psoriasis, vitiligo and other skin conditions, also has its own financing program which allows physicians to have the device in their offices for free. Physicians are only charged when they use the laser. Fees range between $65 and $85, depending on the treatment type. "The program gives doctors the opportunity to see the value in the laser without making a high capital equipment commitment," says Paul TanPiengco, director of marketing for PhotoMedex.

David M. Pariser, M.D., uses the program, and says the high cost of investing in the machine makes the Partnership Program highly beneficial for him. "A big disadvantage of owning a costly piece of equipment is that when the technology improves — which it always does — you're stuck," says Dr. Pariser, professor of dermatology, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Va., and president-elect of the American Academy of Dermatology. "I don't want to be in the ethical dilemma of having a machine that's not the best technology available just because I've made a financial investment that requires me to use it."


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