Moving at Light Speed
By MELANIE KILGORE-HILL
Energy-based Procedures a Game Changer
Aesthetic medicine is literally evolving at light speed, with energy-based systems leading the way.
Lasers, ultrasound, microwaves and radio frequency are now treatment methods of choice for many dermatologists including Michael Gold, MD, FAAD, of Gold Skincare in Nashville.
"A lot of these are improvements on technology we've had for a long time," said Gold, who's witnessed a laser market revolution during his 30-year career. "Our world has changed, and it's not that we suddenly have new technology but that we have better technology in the same categories that we had a few years back."
As an early adapter to technology, Gold has long been involved in clinical trials. "We do a lot of testing on all these devices so we know how they work and can maximize their use," he said. "We also get to teach a lot of people."
The latest laser making headlines is the Syneron Candela PicoWay, considered the next generation laser light for tattoo removal and de-pigmentation (see box). A service that used to take 10-15 visits is now accomplished in half the time thanks to the ability to deliver concentrated energy to the targeted ink in a faster, shorter burst measured in picoseconds - one trillionth of a second.
Radio frequency devices offer a more sophisticated skin tightening option and are often used with needles for treatment of acne scars. Ultrasound innovation like Ultherapy lifts skin on the face and neck through tiny holes under the skin, "That's often a one treatment procedure, and we see really nice results," Gold said.
Another device, the UltraShape Power, is especially useful for the tightening of love handles and thighs and uses ultrasound to melt fat. Gold also eliminates fat by freezing it, a procedure called CoolSculpting. "New hand pieces and software make treatments faster and allow for fat to be removed in half the time," Gold said.
A medical dermatology pioneer, Gold was among the first in his field to use silicone gel sheeting for scars and helped launch the first pulse light hair removal device in the industry. He later became one of the first three dermatologists to use photodynamic therapy for actinic keratosis and cosmetic concerns in which chemicals are used to help destroy pre-skin cancers.
"I've been very lucky to have been in the right place at the right time," said Gold, who maintains seven academic appointments both domestically and abroad. "We're very blessed here in Nashville to have the best healthcare."