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Palomar’s PaloVia was the first to market and features a 1410nm laser diode Images courtesy of Palomar

a consumer company, in this case Johnson and Johnson, to develop the device. The two companies collaborated for five years after which Johnson and Johnson made the decision to pull out of the project for financial reasons. According to a Palomar statement at the time: ‘With this decision, Johnson and Johnson avoids having to make a large commercialisation payment to Palomar and avoids having to commit to the significant level of funding required to successfully launch a new product into the mass market.’

Palomar successfully gained FDA clearance for the PaloVia in 2009, and the device is now sold through various consumer channels such as the QVC shopping network. As with Palomar’s clinical systems, the

PaloVia is based on fractional non-ablative laser technology (see box). ‘The PaloVia uses a 1.41µm diode laser in a package especially developed by Palomar,’ explains Gregory Altshuler, senior vice president of research at Palomar. ‘Bringing costs down to the required level was challenging at the beginning because the initial quantities required were relatively low. We had to develop our own laser diode package to be successful.’

Being first onto the market was a risk, admits Altshuler. ‘But we are very proud of this accomplishment,’ he says. ‘And it gives us a head start and more time to make our second generation product even better.’

The device being marketed by Philips, the RéAura, was developed together with laser systems supplier Solta. It is also based on a diode laser (1435nm) and fractionated non-ablative technology. The main difference between the two devices is the scanning method used to deliver the laser power to the skin. The laser in the PaloVia is coupled into an optical fibre which has a microlens at its tip. This tip focuses the laser beam beneath

the skin tissue to create a micro-column of treated tissue that extends deeply into the skin. Consumers using the PaloVia laser use a stamping action. They place the device on the skin, ensure that the contact sensors are engaged, and press the activation button. The tip is mounted on a precision XY-stage, controlled by a microcomputer in the device. When the user presses the activation button and all safety conditions are satisfied, the software moves the tip according to the pre-programmed two-dimensional pattern, pulsing the laser at the desired locations to create the fractional treatment in the skin. Each scan takes about three seconds and then the consumer moves the device to another skin location. The device allows 25 stamps and then automatically shuts down for eight hours. ‘This stamping mechanism

System manufacturers believe

the at-home market will stimulate the clinical market

is ideal for treating delicate areas, such as eye wrinkles, as it allows the user to be very precise,’ says Altshuler. ‘The efficacy of our device is also independent of the consumer. It does not rely on the consumer to get it right.’

Users of the RéAura, on the other hand, use a

more fluid motion when treating their skin. ‘The RéAura features a high repetition rate fractional laser beam delivery system which includes movement tracking,’ says George Frangineas, director of laser technology at Solta. ‘It uses a control algorithm that delivers a specific and predictable dose onto each area of the skin. Users simply glide the handpiece over their face and the laser automatically delivers the right dose, correcting for the variable movement speed. This means the user performs multiple passes over the same area of skin, producing a uniform treatment without printing stamp-zones of demarcation.’

To prevent consumers overusing the device, Philips advises that they treat their skin in ‘zones’- for example, the forehead is one zone and one half of the lower face is another zone. According to Philips, the device knows when exactly the correct dosage has been administered to each zone and it plays a ‘dose complete’ tune to alert the user to move on to the next zone. In addition, to prevent over-treatment, RéAura does have an automatic cut-off that blocks the device for 24 hours.

Unlike the PaloVia, the RéAura does not yet have FDA approval, which means it cannot be sold in the US. However, the PaloVia is only FDA approved for use on wrinkles around the eyes, which restricts Palomar’s advertising campaign as the company is not allowed to make claims about the efficacy of the device on any other part of the body. Philips, on the other hand, does not have these restrictions and its marketing campaign claims the RéAura is effective for the whole face, neck, chest, forearms and hands. In a statement released for Electro Optics, Philips states that: ‘The RéAura is currently only available for the European market. Philips is in the process of receiving 510k approval from the FDA and hopes to launch RéAura in the US in the coming years.’ ➤

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