A cosmetic dermatology clinic differs from the traditional dermatology clinic in terms of the requirement of a wide range of equipment to perform various aesthetic procedures. In the past, the only instrument associated with dermatology practice was a magnifying glass. It then progressed to equipment’s such as Woods lamp, electrocautery, radiofrequency, cryotherapy and phototherapy units. Beyond these tools, the cosmetic dermatologists’ armamentarium includes various basic and specialized equipment’s to carry out a multitude of dermatological treatments and cosmetology procedures. (Box 1) In addition to the treatment equipment, photo documentation devices are also essential. These devices record the results and changes for analysis and prognosis of the treatments and can actually document the percentile UV damage, wrinkle score etc. The cosmetic clients (internet savvy) are aware of the equipment usage in various procedures and check for clinics offering facilities with the latest equipment and low downtime.
The cosmetic dermatologist not only needs to be updated about the latest equipment’s but should also be aware of its management and maintenance needs. Poor maintenance leads to financial losses for the physician and compromises on efficacy and safety issues for the patient. This chapter gives a brief outline of equipment management and maintenance aspects which would enable the physician to provide safe, effective treatments and sustain the financial aspects of his/ her practice optimally.
Box 1: Basic and Specialized equipment in a cosmetic clinic
Radiofrequency and cautery
Jet Peel or hydrafacial
Dermatoscope and photography equipment ( detailed in chapter 5)
Specialised Equipment- LASERS and Light Systems
Intense Pulse Light
LASER Hair Reduction- Long Pulse Alexandrite, Long Pulsed ND YAG, Diode
Pigmentation- Q Switched ND YAG
Fractional and Ablative LASERS
Hair Restoration- Low Level Lasers and lights
Skin Tightening– LASERS and Radiofrequency, Micro needling Radiofrequency
Vitiligo and Psoriasis- Excimer lamp and LASER
Body contouring- Radiofrequency, cryolipolysis, ultrasound cavitation, low level laser therapy,etc.
BASIC REQUIREMENTS FOR EQUIPMENT MANAGEMENT
The basic requirement from any machine/ equipment is its longevity and optimal usage. This can be achieved by effective equipment management procedures  (Box 2)
Box 2: Effective equipment management procedures
The following checklist should be kept in mind during purchase of the equipment. This helps to trouble shoot maintenance issues effectively.
- Always buy from a certified company or a certified official dealer
- Check with the dealer for skilled technicians for installation and troubleshooting
- Sign the maintenance contract with the company (No machine is zero maintenance)
- Establish the warranty period (details and time lines)
- Note of the date of manufacture and the numerical code unique to each equipment.
Space and storage Requirements
of the equipment and accessories should be taken into account prior to installation.
Electrical connections and stabilizers:
This has been detailed in Chapter 60. Special sockets and high voltage breakers, stabilizers and UPS (uninterrupted power supply) should be provided.
Most of the LASER machines generate heat and require certain temperatures to be maintained while in operation. An air conditioned environment is preferred as it remains closed, relatively dust free and is useful for machine longevity.
Fragments of skin, hair and aerosols can damage LASER lenses or light based equipment due to physical interference with transmission. Smoke evacuation systems may be used to reduce the plume debris and limit the harmful effects on the staff, patients/clients and the laser equipment.
Standard Operating protocols (SOPs)
SOPs regarding usage of the machine are provided by the manufacturer. Indications and Specifications are provided in the operator manual and should be adhered to. Based on the patient requirement, if modifications are made in the SOPs, these should be documented and informed to all the staff.
Training of staff
(machine operators or staff responsible for maintenance)
All the staff members in the cosmetic dermatology set up should be trained to follow the SOPs, understand the need and importance of equipment maintenance for the smooth functioning of the clinic.
Quality control checks
(cleaning, safety devices, consumables)
In addition to the daily cleaning; regular weekly or fortnightly check of each machine, safety devices and consumables should be done. This helps to prevent emergency maintenance issues and financial losses.
Maintenance and servicing
(Daily, Preventive, Annual)
A record should be maintained of all planned and unplanned maintenance and services, including any problems or modifications. The service contract records, contact details of service personnel should be documented well.
Equipment/ Accessory modification
Any modification to the equipment or accessories; or change in its operational usage may have safety implications associated with it. Hence, whenever any modification is done, appropriate documentation is mandatory. Standard accessories should be used.
STANDARDISED AND EFFECTIVE EQUIPMENT MANAGEMENT
A standardised form, including all the aspects detailed above for equipment management should be kept with individual machines. A soft/ hard copy of this format for all machines should be catalogued and serve as a ready reckoner to the concerned staff. A basic outline of the form has been provided in Box 3. The salient aspects for effective equipment management have been included in Box 4.
Box 3: Standard form for individual machines
|Name of the machine
Standard specifications (usually provided by manufacturer)
Storage specifications: Equipment/ Accessories
Space: Table mounted/ Floor mounted
Electricity: Earthing/ UPS requirement
Safety devices- Goggles, cooling devices, smoke evacuators
Maintenance- Daily, Preventive, Annual or comprehensive maintenance services ( AMC/ CMC)
Special tips do’s and don’t’s
Operator Training: Names/ Dates
Contact details for Maintenance services: Phone/ Mail id/ Website address/ Personnel
Warranty details: Equipment/ Accessories, along with datelines
Services Contract: AMC/ CMC, Renewal along with Dates
Service done: Dates/ Done by whom/ Supervisory staff
Box 4: General Tips for effective equipment management
BASIC EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE
The general principles of basic equipment maintenance (as per the standardised form) has been outlined in Table 1. Modifications can be done based on individual machines and clinic requirements.
Table 1: Basic Equipment Management
Diamond- USG, Cleanser, head
Salt – cartridges
Diamond Pro Lift
|Radiofrequency /Cautery||Mesomate/Dr Injector
|Jet M Machine|
|Exfoliation gently removes the outermost dead skin cell layer for the epidermis.
Reduces pigmentation and tanning
Improves Acne scars
Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
Reduces pore size and age spots
Disencrustation- Deep cleansing
|Dermatoses papulosa nigra (DPNs)
Uneven skin tone
Standard operating protocols
|Table mounted||Table mounted||Table mounted||Table mounted
Dr. .Injector has its own Trolley
|Table mounted or specially designed trolley|
|Hand piece depending on the type of machine
Nozzles of two different sizes small for face and neck and big for the body parts
Aluminium oxide crystals
|Two long metal probes, one small probe with sponge for earthing , two sets of coloured wires, one metal roller, sticky pads and big pads.||Hand piece
Wire loop electrode and pointed electrode
Disposable as well as reusable tips are available
Kinked wires may need replacement
|Safety devices||Foot pedal
Triple nozzle handpiece
Safety goggles (during peel infusion )
|The jar has to be cleared of all the crystals after every service and cleaned.||Hand piece needs to be cleansed with alcohol swab before use.||Tissue residue should be removed from the active electrode (Rf power ON) with a sterile moist gauze (water only)
No scalpel scissors or any sharp objects should be used as it may lead to tissue adherence
All commercially available disinfectants may be used to disinfect the electrodes.
Electrodes should be immersed in fresh cidex solution .then they must be washed and under tap water , dried and Placed in the supplied box
All non- disposable hand pieces, cables, plugs and electrodes are autoclavable to 250
Steam cleaning of electrodes must be done just before use.
|Sterilize the guard with alcohol swab prior to the service||Regular cleaning of hand piece|
|Jar needs to be replaced every fortnight for smooth functioning of the machine
Spare hand pieces should always be available
Replace filter and nozzle after every 15 bottles
Clean hand piece with alcohol swabs or SPCL cleaning Solution.
Straighten the tubes.
Preventive maintenance should be done at an interval of 1-2 months
|Preventive machine maintenance at an interval of 1-2 months.||The electrodes should be dipped in dilute H2O2 solution so that debris gets cleared,
Preventive machine maintenance should be at an interval of 6 months.
Clean the gun exterior with spirit.
Do not allow spirit to enter the interiors.
Charge the Gun daily
Preventive machine maintenance should be at an interval of 6 months.
Preventive machine maintenance should be at an interval of 6 months.
Special Tips: Do’s and Don’ts
|Do’s- follow the instructions mentioned in the user manual
Don’ts – do not place anything on the machine
|Don’ts- Coloured wires should always be tied up and placed on the machine when not in use||Do’s- The only way the radiosurgery can create tissue damage is if the heat is allowed to accumulate in the tissue to the point where it can lead to excessive dehydration and hence tissue destruction. Preventing accumulation of such heat is the basic objective of radiosurgery technique and hence one should practice 10 seconds ON and 30 seconds OFF.
Don’ts – Do not Use any inflammable anesthetics or cleaning agents.
|Use the injector and needle that meets the international and domestic standards.||
SPECIALISED EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE
Specialised equipment’s such as Lasers, lights, radiofrequency based machines are now an integral part of cosmetic clinics. Most of these equipment are expensive and have specific maintenance issues. In addition, the optical radiation emitted by lasers, IPLs and LEDs has potentially hazardous effects on patients, clients and equipment users. There can be direct damage to eyes or skin. A potential risk of fires or explosions from lasers igniting gases or fabrics and the problem of smoke inhalation exist. Engineering (in- built safety measures provided within the laser machine), procedural (policies and practices followed at the cosmetic clinic) and administrative (review by health department) control measures are needed to prevent exposure to potential laser hazards. 
Effective equipment management procedures as outlined in Box 2 should be followed for each of the specialised equipment in the clinic. The most important aspect of maintenance is simple prevention. This can be achieved through the following measures:
- Routine inspection, of the laser system and the surroundings (Daily/ weekly checks)
- Periodic inspection and maintenance of optical components and critical subassemblies (Preventive and annual maintenance checks)
- Documentation and Record keeping
Few examples for daily/ weekly/ preventive checks for laser equipment are outlined in Box 5 
Box 5: Examples for daily/ weekly/ preventive checks for laser equipment
mples for daily checks:
Check whether the laser output terminates on release of foot/ hand switch
Check the device’s alignment of the aiming beam with the therapeutic beam
Check device’s filters/ tips for scratches or dirt.
Check all system alarms and lights are operating appropriately
Assess all device accessories including cables and connectors are clean and functioning.
Inspect protective eye wear for lens scratches or general damage
Check all protective blinds, windows and doors, are dust free and functioning appropriately
Check that electrical system connections/ UPS, warning lights are functioning correctly
Device calibration checks
Accuracy of timer
The general tips for effective and safe laser equipment management are outlined in Box 6. The general principles of specialised equipment maintenance (as per the standardised form) has been outlined in Table 2. Modifications can be done based on individual machines and clinic requirements.
Box 6: General tips for effective and safe laser equipment management
(details in chapter 60)
Table 2: General principles of specialised equipment maintenance ( separate doc- horizontal chart)
Equipment management and maintenance is an integral part of the cosmetic practice set- up. Specialised equipment such as lasers and radiofrequency based devices are expensive and have specific maintenance issues. In addition to the financial implications for the practice, the safety and efficacy of the treatments provided by the physician are chiefly dependent on well managed equipment.
A cosmetic dermatology clinic differs from the traditional dermatology clinic in terms of the requirement of a wide range of equipment to perform various aesthetic procedures. It is a good practice to employ equipment management and maintenance measures. The effective equipment management procedures include checklists and processes for purchase, installation, developing standard operating protocols, staff training, quality control checks, maintenance and servicing (daily, preventive, annual ) and modifications in equipment/ accessories. Good equipment management and maintenance practices have healthy financial implications for the practice. It assures optimal usage and longevity of the machine life, along with safe and effective treatments for the patients/ clients.
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