How Proficient is your Laser Hair Removal Operator?
Another important question that you are perhaps asking yourself is how do you know if you laser hair removal operator is proficient or not? Is there any way to actually evaluate a physician when they are at work?
Our most common reaction would always be to check on experience to determine proficiency, but a recent clinical trial and development of a new tool is about to prove to us that proficiency in laser hair removal can finally be measured.
Laser Hair Removal Proficiency - What Does it Mean?
In order to be effective, and safe, the laser needs to be applied uniformly over the area that is being treated. This means that the operator needs to make sure the laser pulses are exactly the same at all times, that the entire area to be treated is covered and that certain areas of skin are not covered twice. The latter is very important as treating a specific area more than once in one sitting may cause skin damage.
By proficiency we are referring to the amount of hairs targeted during a session. we are also referring to how well the skin is being protected against multiple passes.
While one can assume that an experienced operator will have perfected his/her technique to ensure that he/she covers the area efficiently and safely, how can we be sure that a less experienced technician has learned to be efficient?
The question of proficiency also comes up during training. How can an instructor make sure that the students are correctly trained in covering different areas of the body correctly?
It is notoriously difficult to track proficiency, mainly because first of all, there are no visual cues as the laser itself is applied directly to the skin and therefore invisible to the eye, and second of all, up until now, any type of tracking option has proven too expensive to buy, set up and use on a regular basis.
The Two Types of Techniques Used in Laser Hair Removal
The Sliding Technique
Laser pulses are continuously fired while the physician slides the applicator over the skin, constantly maintaining contact. This is best for larger areas.
Spot by Spot Technique
A single laser pulse is fired on the skin at a time and the physician continuously applies the applicator to the skin with each pulse and then removes it. This is better on smaller, less accessible areas.
The clinical study that we have reviewed below uses both techniques to help determine if one technique is more efficient than the other, and how proficiency can now be tracked during training using an easy to access and affordable new tool.
New Tools to Visualise and Evaluate Operator Efficiency
Recently a scientific study was done to test out new ways to measure laser operator proficiency and to understand if the feedback improved the performance of the operator.
- In order to evaluate the proficiency of laser hair operators this study proposes the use of a new tool and tests this tool on 6 novice operators.
- The tests took place using a specifically designed bed with mirrors to reflect the laser beams, and a strategically placed PC camera to capture the reflected beams and record them to a program where the evaluator could track the movement progression in real time.
- Operators were designated a specific area on the bed to treat. The operators were also asked to use gel in order to simulate a real life experience.
- Each operator was required to perform 4 test sessions using different techniques (spot by spot with and without instructor feedback and sliding with and without instructor feedback).
- Feedback was provided after the initial test of each technique, based on the instructor’s ability to track the laser’s path in real time.
- Laser distribution maps (LDMs) were created during each treatment, evaluated altogether and then categorized into 3 performance groups, from best to worst.
What Did the Study Tell Us?
After all of the data was evaluated and the three performance groups were created it was determined that the novice operators performed better after feedback was given when using the sliding technique.
There was no significant difference in performance pre and post feedback with the spot by spot technique.
Post training it was concluded that there was a 6.32% decrease in errors when using the sliding technique and it was also concluded that the use of this new review tool would highly benefit novice operators in training and lead to a more efficient and safer laser hair removal performance across the board.
This May Be the Future of Laser Hair Removal
Up until very recently even during intense laser hair removal training it was difficult for instructors to be able to fully evaluate technique and proficiency.
This new clinical study can easily be installed in any training facility now gives instructors the option to track the laser distribution maps of their students in real time and provide feedback.
This is a great benefit as it will help provide higher proficiency results in training, a better grasp on procedure for the for novice operator and a huge reassurance for the consumer in terms of a more uniform practice in all clinics.
Of course, as with all new technologies, there is a big difference between a single positive scientific study and actual implementation in laser hair removal clinics around the world. It will be interesting to see if these feedback systems are developed and what the uptake will be going forward.