Backgrounder: ASLMS & Laser and Other Energy – Based Technology
THE LASER REVOLUTION
Lasers were first developed by the US military as weapons and guidance systems for planes and rockets in the early 1960s. At about the same time, lasers were introduced for industrial uses like the precise cutting of metals and plastics. During the next 20 years, laser design and engineering were advanced to better focus and separate the light beam and to produce short individual pulses of light energy – necessary for their use in medical care. Today, lasers have revolutionized patient care in medical disciplines as diverse as dermatology, ophthalmology, oncology, urology, and dentistry, to name just a few. In fact, laser therapy has become the gold standard of care for a wide range of medical therapies and aesthetic conditions.
From corrective eye surgery, skin rejuvenation, and vein disorders to early detection of breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and degenerative disorders, lasers and other energy sources offer patients an effective solution which is less invasive and reduces patient recovery time. In many instances, laser and related technology have allowed procedures to be performed in a physician’s office using only topical or local anesthesia, eliminating the need for general anesthesia. Other benefits of laser therapy include enhanced precision, less bleeding and faster healing than is generally the case with conventional surgery. The laser revolution has also helped to make certain treatments affordable and accessible to consumers from every walk of life.
LASER DESIGN AND ENGINEERING
New advances in photonics and laser design are being developed on an ongoing basis to better serve the needs of medical professionals. Similar to consumer electronics, laser and related technologies are driven by the demand for miniaturization. For example, diode laser technology replaced bulky equipment, making utilization by physicians easier and more precise. Advances in lasers and related technologies are also being made to improve patient safety and comfort. Devices and accessories that cool the skin surface and make skin flatter or more transparent allow for superior laser penetration. New designs also lead the way to new applications. For example, lasers for pigmented lesions, photoselective vaporization techniques for enlarged prostate symptoms, and laser treatment to reduce vision loss associated with glaucoma are now available for patient care, thanks to the scientific developments and technical progress emerging from laser and related technology engineering labs and research centers.
GUIDELINES FOR LASER SAFETY
The ASLMS was among the first organizations to develop practice guidelines and safety standards for the use of lasers by physician and health personnel in hospitals and office settings. The Society recommends training devoted to the principles of lasers, their instrumentation and physiological effects and safety requirements. An initial program should include clinical applications of various wavelengths in the particular specialty field and hands-on practical sessions with lasers and their appropriate surgical or therapeutic delivery systems. Further, the ASLMS promotes prudent selection of both procedures and patients appropriate for office-based and institutional laser procedures. To ensure safe and effective selection, ASLMS asserts that a comprehensive knowledge of the disease process and experience in management of patients with the disease is essential. In addition, each patient should have at minimum a brief history and physical examination by the physician. Medical records and the highest level of quality assurance should be maintained.
THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR LASER MEDICINE AND SURGERY (ASLMS)
The American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, Inc. (ASLMS) is the world’s preeminent resource for laser research, safety, education, and clinical knowledge. Founded in 1980, ASLMS promotes excellence in patient care by advancing product engineering and clinical applications of lasers and related technologies. Currently, ASLMS has over 4,200 members, including physicians and surgeons representing more than 51 specialties, physicists involved in product development, biomedical engineers, biologists, nurses, industry representatives and manufacturers. More information can be found on the Society’s website: www.aslms.org.
ASLMS Fact Sheet
What is ASLMS?
The American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, Inc. (ASLMS) was founded in 1980 and is the world’s largest professional organization dedicated to promoting excellence in patient care by advancing laser applications and other energy based technologies.
Who belongs to ASLMS?
Membership includes physicians and surgeons representing more than 50 medical specialties, nurses and allied health care professionals, scientists involved with product development, biomedical engineers, biologists, industry leaders and equipment manufacturers.
How many members does ASLMS have?
The Society currently has more than 4,200 members, 20% of which are located outside the United States.
What does ASLMS do?
The vision of ASLMS is to be the world’s preeminent resource for laser research, education, technology and clinical knowledge. ASLMS works toward this ambitious mission by:
- Conducting an annual conference for the multidisciplinary exchange of information on the latest discoveries, applications and research involving medical lasers and light energy sources
- Publishing the world’s foremost laser journal, Lasers in Surgery and Medicine
- Raising more than $1 million in the past five years for applied medical laser and related light energy technology research projects and grants
- Establishing practice guidelines and safety standards for physician and non-physician use of lasers and related light-based technologies
- Providing in-service education and testifying before regulatory authorities, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- Sponsoring professional networking opportunities to clinicians and suppliers
- Supporting regional, national and international meetings of laser health care professionals
- Disseminating public information about laser use that enhances patient care, including a website (www.aslms.org) that features a physician locator service, New Beginnings: Radiation Mark Removal Program, and other information about lasers in health care.
What is the ASLMS Annual Conference?
- The annual conference offers the opportunity for all disciplines to come together to learn, share, investigate, and create ideas to advance biomedical application of lasers and energy-based devices.
- One of the primary strengths of the Society is the diversity of membership. The ASLMS Annual Conference is one of the very few conferences driven by a common technology rather than a common specialty. Experts in one field can learn about exciting developments occurring in other fields and integrate them into their own research or clinical practice.
- Hundreds of clinical studies are presented each year to highlight the latest advances and newest devices on the market.
- The conference offers students, residents and fellows the opportunity to meet and learn from the industry leaders and pioneers, as well as the chance to present their research at a world renowned conference. ASLMS offers students, residents and fellows free membership for the course of their training, and waives the conference registration fee for them as well.
What are some key topics presented at the conference?
Hot Topics include:
- The latest in laser therapy for skin conditions and scarring, as well as photoaging
- RF needling devices, picosecond lasers, non-surgical body contouring and skin resurfacing
- Innovative skin treatments by photodynamic therapy (PDT)
- Photobiomodulation as a promising therapy for reducing pain and inflammation, wound healing, and tissue regeneration.
- Advances in pediatric laser medicine, safety and efficacy of laser and energy-based devices in children’s health
- Topic areas also include dental applications, veterinary medicine, optical diagnostics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and women’s health.
- An emphasis on safety guidelines for lasers and other energy-based devices, as well as maximizing patient satisfaction.
What do ASLMS members receive?
- Discounts on Conference and Course Fees
- Free Subscription to Lasers in Surgery and Medicine (LSM) journal
- Light Talk Podcast Series
- Preceptorship Program
- Physician Locator Service
- Access to Research Grants
- Worldwide Professional Network