I recently attended the 2014 National Laser and Cosmetic Conference held in Melbourne from 15 – 16 November, and had the privilege and pleasure of interviewing some of the most renowned cosmetic surgeons in Australia. Dr Adrian Lim is certainly one of the industry leaders at the forefront of his field and one of the nicest people I was able to sit down with. Read our interview below.
Trish: Dr Adrian Lim, so you’re considered as one of the leaders in the field of dermatology in Australia. How do you think as a nation that we rate against the rest of the world with regards to technology and advancements in skin treatments and surgery?
Dr Lim: We rate very highly both in consumer expectations and the new and exciting procedures on offer, and we are very well informed as a public. The doctors are also very highly trained and it just seems to improve year by year. So it’s a great, active industry in Australia.
Trish: I’ve always thought we have the best surgeons in the world here, why would you go anywhere else? Dr Lim, with regards to laser, do you think all lasers are equal, and are there any that you believe that more advanced, are safer or yield better results than others?
Dr Lim: Well you know, at the end of the day a photon is a photon, a light is a light. But in order to actually produce this light there’s a lot of complicated engineering and technology, so these are not all the same in that sense. That sophistication and creation of the product, the practitioner ability, they make a difference… So while the physics is universal the manmade input can vary. That is relevant I think to the choices that we have here in Australia. We have well-established laser companies, and we can also access lasers much more easily through the internet so on and so there’s a wide variation.
Trish: Yes, on that I was talking to customer last week who’s looking at buying a laser on the internet because it’s a lot cheaper but it didn’t have TGA approval and she didn’t realise what she was getting into. I think it’s about being aware, and realising the importance of going through a reputable business or supplier.
Dr Lim: Yes, indeed.
Trish: So with all the different laser treatments, devices and the technology that is on the market today and different doctors endorsing different products, how is the consumer expected to objectively identify which treatment is actually right for them?
Dr Lim: It can be difficult and I really empathise with consumers out there because it’s just, there’s a lot of mumbo jumbo and things are often not made as clear as it should, and it’s not getting better… the small lasers, the small hype, coming around these devices and the like… So I think the consumers have to make sure to be informed; picking the right practitioner; doing your homework; making sure that the devices that are used are at least TGA or equivalent and the usual precautions. I guess, knowing someone who’s actually been through the procedure would help. Word of mouth still goes a long way especially today when you can access everything on the internet.
Trish: Exactly… because that’s what we do in the hub. We tend to have all the devices and what they’re about and so people can go in, have a read and say yep, that’s the one that I want, or that’s just the thing that I like, and go from there.
Are there any new treatments for a person that might be suffering from mild psoriasis, say for example in the elbows or any other joints?
Dr Lim: That’s an interesting one… the answer is yes, that there are some emerging designer molecules that are used to treat psoriasis, but presently they are often injections plus tablets so not through laser devices. Psoriasis can be very disfiguring because it can be isolated patches, or it could cover the entire body; it can affect the scalp; we can get joint problems where there is already arthritis. Traditionally the treatment of creams can be somewhat effective, but the designer molecules, whilst they are dramatically effective are also very expensive. So at the moment this treatment is restricted to the most severe of cases. It is government funded for those individuals. The average finances for annual treatment is somewhere between 20 – 30 thousand dollars. So new technology is not cheap!
Trish: So in your clinic, what’s your favorite device that you have? Can you tell us a little bit of that one?
Dr Lim: Ah… the current conference that we are attending does a lot of focus on radio frequency and I guess in the last 5 years it seems to be an emerging technology. The advantages of radio frequency over laser is that you don’t need eye protection and also it’s what you can call a caliber device so people with darker skin and the traditionally the most difficult skin types… they can undergo radio frequency treatment without too many complications, as is expected with, or tends to accompany, laser treatments; particularly the discolouration… you know, after laser you can be darker or you can lose pigment. The intensity is less with a radio frequency device. So, hence its emerging popularity.
Trish: Interesting, because on our website we have just published a great blog about the Secret RF. Do you use that one?
Dr Lim: Yes. I really love the Secret RF. It’s one (device) with a happy marriage between clever technology and the modality that is actually very useful. So the way the Secret RF works… it sees multiple needles that are sort of driven by a motorised pump so it comes in and out. And it delivers the energy when it’s in the skin within the collagen layer. So there’s this burst of radio frequency energy. And because it’s delivered into the dermis, you are not upsetting the epidermis where the pigment cells live. The dermal changes are what you want without the side effects of the epidermal pigment destruction. So that is a clever technology to help with scars, skin tightening and stretch marks and so on. So I think that’s a good example of the emerging devices that are about and it seems to be a focus of the current conference.
Trish: Thank you so much for your time Dr Lim, it’s been really great.