Lasers and aesthetic procedures have revolutionized the field of dermatology and cosmetic procedures. They are a staple in treatments ranging from skin resurfacing to hair removal to scar reduction and more. Despite their high upfront costs; often exceeding $100,000, for many medical practices, the purchase of a laser system represents a significant investment. However, the real cost of owning a laser doesn’t just end with the purchase. As sophisticated as they are, these high-tech machines are not immune to malfunction and daily wear and tear, which can affect their safety, efficacy, and reliability.
Moreover, the warranties provided by manufacturers are limited. Even used equipment typically has just a three-month parts warranty, and some manufacturers don’t allow the transfer of even the original one-year warranty to secondary buyers. Further, in busy medical settings, controlling how staff handles and maintains this expensive equipment can be challenging. Each incident of damage not only incurs repair costs but may also lead to significant disruptions in your operations.
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Importance of Laser Maintenance
Owning an aesthetic laser system is a hefty investment. If you want to be recognized by offering high-level services and keeping patients satisfied, you need your aesthetic laser to be in perfect shape. That’s why there’s nothing worse than beginning your day with a full waiting room of patients and an aesthetic laser with an error code showing!
Maintaining your equipment will not only keep your system safe and secure, but will also save you money by avoiding damage and downtime to your laser, ensuring effective treatments for your customers. Remember: owning and operating an aesthetic laser system is a great responsibility. Maintaining it is critical to you, your clients, and your business.
Aesthetic Laser Maintenance Checklist
Lasers last longer when they’re better cared for, and caring for a laser means regular servicing to ensure all the parts are working properly and the unit remains properly calibrated. That means not only does your practice reap the benefits of word-of-mouth advertising from satisfied patients, but you also cut down on equipment costs by ensuring your unit lasts as long as possible.
Each time the laser unit is used:
- Check the cooling system levels before operation. Use deionized water, and if required, a coolant additive.
- Ensure that you use distilled or deionized water as recommended by the manufacturer. Don’t overfill the tank or add too much coolant.
- Verify that the voltage tab in the laser system matches the voltage in the wall.
- Stop using the device immediately if you notice smoking or popping from the device, which indicates a power supply failure.
- Dust the vents using a vacuum.
- Monitor the flashlamp pulses for every wavelength. Replace lamps after 500,000 pulses.
- Clean out the filters and dust and vacuum the vents on the side panels and fans.
- Empty the water container of your laser device and vacuum the rear filter.
- Schedule routine servicing every 6 months to ensure the unit operates correctly and makes any necessary adjustments.
- Keep your treatment room temperature as cool as possible, ideally below 75-80 degrees.
- Respond promptly to any notifications about the need for calibration.
- Consult a professional if the unit shows error messages or other signs that your aesthetic laser needs repair.
Continual Best Practices:
- Follow specific manufacturer guidelines for cleaning water tanks to prevent water flow issues from mineral buildup.
- Keep the Smartcool chiller at least 12 inches away from the laser system.
- Don’t aim the handpiece of the laser at the device itself.
- Be cautious when moving the unit, only doing so across even surfaces to avoid jostling.
- Don’t ignore any software update notifications. Regular updates are needed.
- Know who to call if your cosmetic laser becomes damaged or fails to work correctly.
Signs that Your Aesthetic Laser Needs Repairs
Here are some of the most common issues that can affect the precision of your aesthetic laser system or cause it to break down.
Error Codes and Circuit Boards
When your software is not regularly updated, you will commonly see more error messages, indicating a problem. Do not ignore these messages because your system is trying to tell you that there is a problem that needs attention. This can affect how well your unit produces light, laser accuracy, cooling efficiency, equipment calibration, and other functions. If your unit fails completely, it may be an indication that something is wrong with the circuit board.
Touchscreen or LCD Malfunctions
If you have an aesthetic laser unit with a touchscreen or an LCD screen, you might run into some issues as time goes by. Sometimes the touchscreen loses its mojo and doesn’t respond when you tap it. Or the LCD screen can get dim and hard to see. These issues could be anything from software, hardware, or even power problems — it’s just something that a pro needs to fix.
We get a lot of calls from customers about screens that have cracked. When that happens, you need to replace the thing — simple as that. But other headaches, like the touchscreen playing up or getting harder to read over time, might need a bit more sleuthing. Fortunately, things like these can usually be cleared up with a bit of expert troubleshooting from an experienced laser repair tech.
High Voltage Power Supply Failure
A power supply failure can significantly impact your aesthetic laser unit, owing to the significant power output needed from your high voltage power supply (HVPS) to generate laser light. If your HVPS isn’t pulling its weight, the strength and efficiency of your laser during treatments could take a hit, implying that any HVPS issues mustn’t be sidelined.
Signs that the HVPS Needs Repairs:
- Laser unit struggles to power up or fails during the startup process.
- It made a loud pop and the equipment doesn’t power up.
- Nothing happens when you try to turn it on.
- Smoke comes out of the system.
- The circuit breakers go off when you try to run the device.
These signs indicate that your High Voltage Power Supply (HVPS) may need repair or replacement. Always consult a professional technician to avoid the risk of electrocution when dealing with power supply components.
Water and Air System Issues
The water and air systems in your aesthetic laser units play a crucial role in maintaining the device’s cool and ensuring its smooth operation. Neglectful practices like not using the correct water type, obstructing airflow, or neglecting filter cleanups can escalate minor hiccups into serious headaches.
Often, these issues arise from sloppy maintenance. To nip these problems in the bud, it’s super important to keep your water tanks clean, following the manufacturer’s advice. If you ignore this, you’ll end up with buildup and scaling in the tank, and that’s bad news for your laser’s performance. If your unit starts coughing up error codes or you suspect any issues, remember we can help sort them out, including cleaning and replacing parts as needed.
Another crucial aspect of keeping your unit in top shape is temperature regulation. This involves not just the upkeep of your unit’s water system, but also regular cleaning of filters and vents. Failing to do so can cause more damage inside your unit, so giving these tasks the attention they deserve is a must!
Handpiece Not Working
Since the handpiece is the most used part of your aesthetic laser system, it will usually require the most attention. Whether the handpiece needs repairs due to everyday wear and tear or it gets dropped and breaks, it is the most common part that needs repairing or replacing. Continuing to use a broken or malfunctioning handpiece can cause other issues, including suboptimal treatment results. Address any handpiece issues as soon as they happen.
One prevalent issue is accidental handpiece drops that can crack the shell or misalign internal components like lamps, crystals, and lenses, leading to unsatisfactory treatment results. In such forced impact scenarios, inspecting the handpiece for necessary repairs is essential. Other issues may arise due to unavoidable factors, such as burning out lamps, misaligned guides and fibers, or exceeded shot counts stemming from heavy usage. All these elements contribute to the overall maintenance importance of this crucial device.
Lamp and Laser Malfunctions
Just like any mechanical component or piece of hardware, crucial parts of your aesthetic laser system, such as flash lamps, laser guides, lenses, distance gauges, and fiber optic cables, can break or falter. This is especially true in busy medical practices or med spas, where the high levels of use increase the likelihood of needing repairs or replacements for these vital components.
For instance, a component we frequently replace is the flash lamp. Found either in the handpiece or the main unit of various cosmetic laser systems, these lamps are prone to damage, often when the handpiece is dropped. However, sometimes, the damage is indirectly caused by other system malfunctions. This highlights one key point- when something’s awry with your laser, it’s best to get it sorted out pronto to avoid a domino effect of damage.
Testing and Recalibration Issues
Aesthetic laser units are highly sensitive machines that need to stay calibrated for optimal performance. If one system or part is off by even a little bit, it can affect how well the laser works and how effectively treatments are performed. Annual testing, recalibration, and realignment maintenance are necessary to keep the unit running smoothly. Adjustments to the laser and light systems, analog circuits, optical parts, and mirrors require regular performance maintenance to keep the unit running as it should.
Common Repairs for Laser Equipment
While laser machines and equipment come with a manual for troubleshooting instructions, a laser technician will likely have to be called in. Common repairs for laser equipment and systems include:
- Replacement of flash lamps
- Replacement of flow tubes
- Replace damaged windows
- Cleaning and aligning of optical components
- Cleaning and polishing of reflective cavity
- Replacement of damaged wires
- Replacement of outer shells
- Servicing the cooling system
- Repair or replacement of cracked screens
- Repair of power supplies
- Re-calibration of equipment
What to Know About Professional Maintenance Services
A few final tips can help prolong the life of your laser handpiece and potentially save you money as well.
Regular maintenance and occasional repairs are necessary during the life of any aesthetic laser unit. Here are some of the most common issues that can affect the precision of your aesthetic laser system or cause it to break down.
If you stay on top of maintenance and repairs, you can help to extend the lifespan of your cosmetic laser equipment. However, it’s also important to treat your laser to proper preventative maintenance service visits from a team of professionals. This helps ensure a high level of precision, yielding amazing results for your patients.
How Often Should an Aesthetic Laser Be Professionally Serviced?
Most laser manufacturers recommend routine servicing twice a year. Why? Because having “checkups” every six months helps ensure your laser is operating properly so you can continue to deliver the best results possible. Plus, having your laser serviced every six months ensures small problems will be caught early, when correction is typically simpler and less costly.
Having lasers serviced every six months offers another benefit: convenience. Having your laser maintained routinely makes it easy to anticipate servicing events so you can schedule around them.
How Much Do Laser Equipment Repairs Cost?
Unfortunately, most owners lack the technical knowledge required for the efficient troubleshooting and repair of these devices. Consequently, it’s often necessary to call in a laser technician who is well versed with the inner workings and complexities of these systems. Without a service contract, a single service call can cost around $1,500, excluding the cost of replacement parts. In addition, securing a same-day repair with a third-party technician is often unachievable. The delay in repair time can cost physicians from $4,000 to $6,000 per day. If you choose not to renew a service contract, vendors may require a technician to assess the equipment before reissuing a warranty in the future, with fees that could amount as high as $15,000.
This underscores the importance of service contracts for high-tech aesthetic laser equipment. They offer economic efficiency and peace of mind, allowing medspas, dermatologists, hair removal centers, and doctors to save thousands of dollars per year on repair and replacement costs. Having a service contract in place ensures speedy and professional repairs, covering a spectrum of needs ranging from simple part replacements to more complex repairs and calibration.
Trust LSS for Aesthetic Laser Maintenance & Repairs
Laser Service Solutions offers cost-effective service contracts, covering major brands like Alma, Fraxel, Cutera, Palomar, and Syneron. Our mission is to provide affordable access to the latest technology, technical repair services, and custom-manufactured laser equipment parts.
If your system shuts down or needs maintenance services, our on-call service technicians are ready to help.
Preventative Maintenance for Aesthetic Laser Units
At Laser Service Solutions, our highly trained technicians can help you determine if your laser system has any special maintenance requirements outside the scope of our preventive maintenance and full-service plans so you can have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your unit is being kept in top shape at all times. To learn more about our service plan options and how we can help you maintain your system and your own reputation for excellence, view our preventative maintenance plans here.
Aesthetic Laser Maintenance Tune-Up
While these are just a few of the most common issues that can affect the performance of your aesthetic laser system, plenty of other things can go wrong. Like any sensitive piece of technology, preventative maintenance is the key to a healthy, functioning system. Calibration and alignment of your system should, at the very least, be completed every year, though every six months is recommended. These system checks can find potential problems before they cause your unit to malfunction or break down completely.
Flexible Aesthetic Laser Service Plans
We offer flexible service plans that will fit any budget to prolong the life or your aesthetic laser system. We service most brands like Alma, Candela, Cynosure, LaserOptek, and Zimmer systems. We offer full laser repair and parts replacement on these devices. Regularly scheduling preventative maintenance is the best way to ensure your laser unit continues working at the most optimal levels for the system’s lifetime. Rather than waiting for these common repair issues to occur, plan for the inevitable by securing a service plan today.
A service contract is a vital safeguard for high-tech aesthetic equipment, including lasers, as these machines can malfunction due to routine wear and tear or improper handling. Regardless of the quality of manufacture, no laser unit is invincible, and warranties are often limited or non-transferrable, especially with pre-owned equipment.
How Service Contracts Decrease Costs for Cosmetic Laser Owners
Operating without a service contract can lead to costly consequences when issues arise. The absence of immediate service could cause significant delays, impacting daily revenue. Additionally, if a contract is allowed to lapse, companies usually charge high fees to assess equipment conditions before reissuing a warranty. Here’s a quick look at potential cost estimates without a service contract:
- A single manufacturer’s service call: around $1,500 (excluding replacement parts)
- Delay in repair time: potential loss of $4,000 to $6,000 per day
- Assessment fees for lapsed contract holders: could reach approx. $15,000
Overall, investing in a service contract for laser equipment is a smart financial move, protecting against unexpected repair expenses and loss of business due to equipment downtime. With Laser Service Solutions, you not only protect your investment but also save money in the long run. Our services enable you to focus on what matters most – your patients, while we focus on taking care of your equipment. We also offer a discount on a two-year service contract, ensuring that you get the best value for your money.
We sell new or used aesthetic laser equipment if you ever need to replace your system. Laser Service Solutions has dedicated professionals who will service your laser equipment as needed. To learn more about our service plan options and how we can help you maintain your system and your own reputation for excellence, call Laser Service Solutions today at (856) 853-7555 or use our online contact form.