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Thinking of Buying ... Ophthalmic Lasers
Expanded patient care can be profitable care.
OSD Staff
Publish Date: March 31, 2015   |  Tags:   Ophthalmology
lasers

The use of lasers for glaucoma treatment and other ocular therapies has been described as one of the most lucrative opportunities available in ophthalmic surgery. It's not hard to see these 4 clinical and business benefits it offers to providers and their patients:

  1. Stepped-up patient care. From an ASC's perspective, lasers clearly represent an opportunity to enhance their patient care by expanding the services they offer across the full spectrum of ophthalmic treatment. But acquiring laser technology means more than simply offering more options to patients. According to many physicians, it could also mean better options.

    Traditionally, glaucoma treatment has started with medication before moving on to lasers, then surgery. But patient-administered eye drops represent a continuing expense and require adherence to a strict routine. Laser treatment, on the other hand, is in many cases just as effective as the drops, without the cost, compliance or potential for side effects. It can also provide an earlier, less-invasive intervention than trabeculectomy or other surgical approaches.
  2. Profitable procedures. Many laser systems require an investment of $20,000 to $26,000 for single-purpose models, or $55,000 to $70,000 for combination systems. Facility reimbursement rates for their procedures aren't extremely generous, with the national averages for common laser treatments ranging from about $180 to $240. On the plus side, however, case costs are very low — just numbing drops and some minimal disposables — and the cases don't take a large amount of time to carry out. As a result, ophthalmic lasers can contribute nicely to a facility's profit margin. A moderate amount of cases will pay for the equipment over the course of 3 or 4 years, and its usable life will long outlast that timeframe.
  3. The appeal of shared technology. A surgery center — particularly a physician-owned one — that makes a capital investment in an ophthalmic laser centralizes the cost of the technology and makes it more accessible to its physicians, who might not be able to justify the individual acquisition and expense of such systems in their own offices. It can also potentially attract new physicians and their cases to the center's ORs, and in so doing boost the center's glaucoma and other eye sub-specialty profiles.
  1. Easy to add. Ophthalmic laser units are fairly plug-and-play technology. The FDA-approved options operate similarly, and their techniques are by now familiar to the physicians coming out of residencies. The addition of ophthalmic lasers to your surgical suites requires certain safety precautions, such as warning signage near the point of use and protective eyewear for support staff. But otherwise it's like acquiring equipment for any other service line. Once you've run the numbers on the technology's purchase cost, maintenance expenses and projected cases needed to break even, your main concern will be how to schedule surgeons' requests for OR time and integrate patients into the flow of the surgical day.

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Alcon
Purepoint Laser System
alcon.com
(800) 862-5266
Pricing: not disclosed
FYI: As a standalone laser or as part of the Constellation ophthalmic surgery platform, Alcon's Purepoint system delivers efficient performance for retinal surgery applications. Its advanced features include: Voice confirmation of parameter changes and accessory device insertions. Engauge RFID technology, which recognizes the device being attached and automatically loads the appropriate settings for them. Dual laser ports, which improve efficiency by allowing multiple device connections and reducing switching time. Plus, a multi-functional foot pedal that gives the surgeon control over all laser settings and functionality.


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Ellex
Tango SLT/YAG Combination Laser
ellex.com
(888) 846-4724
Pricing: not disclosed
FYI: Ellex's Tango system combines a full-featured SLT laser with a powerful, precise YAG laser to perform accurate, efficient capsulotomy and iridotomy treatments at ultra-low energy levels. The proprietary, patented dual-mode laser cavity allows instant, reliable switching between the modes. A custom-designed power supply maintains optimum system stability for greater shot-to-shot consistency. Its 3-shots-per-second firing rate is among the fastest available in the industry.


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Endo Optiks
(a Beaver-Visitec company)
E2 Laser and Endoscopy Surgical System

endooptiks.com
(866) 906-8080
Pricing: not disclosed
FYI: The compact Endo Optiks E2 houses a xenon light source, high-resolution video camera and 810 nm diode laser. Its triple-function micro-endoscopes deliver endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation (ECP), a glaucoma treatment technique that employs direct, visualized laser application to the ciliary processes. Laser output, pulse width, and light and aiming beam intensity are controllable, with parameters displayed on a front-panel console. A foot pedal enables hands-free operation. Laser endoscopes are available in 23, 20 and 19 gauges.


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Iridex Medical
Cyclo G6 Glaucoma Laser System
iridex.com
(888) 725-8115
Pricing: not disclosed
FYI: Iridex's Cyclo G6 laser system, along with the newly FDA-approved MicroPulse P3 disposable probe, are revolutionizing cyclophotocoagulation for glaucoma treatment with the company's proprietary MicroPulse Technology. Early results of clinical trials show the technique to be as effective as a transscleral approach, but with an even better safety profile. MicroPulse's non-incisional, predictable, repeatable approach can be applied in the OR or in the practice's exam room, and takes about the same amount of time as an uncomplicated cataract surgery.


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Lumenis
Selecta Trio
lumenis.com
(408) 764-3000
Pricing: not disclosed
FYI: The 3-in-1 functionality of the Lumenis Selecta Trio expands your therapy options by enabling cataract, glaucoma and retinal treatment through a single platform. An integrated YAG photodisruptor and SLT laser and a photocoagulator laser attached via a laser-link adaptor give your physicians the flexibility to perform capsulotomy, iridotomy, selective laser trabeculoplasty, and focal and pan-retinal photocoagulation with a minimal equipment footprint. The system's intuitive design includes dual controls, slit lamp control knobs and a color LCD touchscreen remote, for easy operation. An ergonomic table ensures stability, patient and physician comfort and even wheelchair accessibility.

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