by Alex Vitruk, LSN Editor
Our exclusive interview with Dr. Elena M. Pederson, PhD, DVM reveals the successful combination of clinical excellence and state-of-the-art CO2 laser technology
Dr. Elena M. Pederson utilizes her Luxar laser regularly at her Las Vegas, Nevada clinic. “Ever since we got this laser 8 years ago, we’ve been using it daily – well, almost daily – almost all surgical procedures we do with laser, including spays, neuters, removal of cysts and tumors…” She stresses the beneficial value of the CO2 laser for her patients: “I don’t know how we did surgery before! This is just wonderful – pets waking up with minimal pain and swelling, significantly less than with a conventional scalpel blade.”
Dr. Pederson’s unique introduction to laser surgery came in the form of a gift from her husband, a physician who also performs cosmetic procedures (using the laser primarily for skin resurfacing). Apart from an intriguing storyline, this transfer also attests to the versatility of the flexible waveguide CO2 laser – both Luxar and the newer Aesculight as well – across diverse indications like veterinary medicine (and its subspecialties), dermatology, oral surgery, gynecology, ophthalmology, ENT and more. In fact, LuxarCare serves approximately 3,000 veterinarians and 3,000 human medical doctors in the United States alone. As Dr. Pederson explains, one of the common denominators is the CO2 wavelength and its superior ability to ablate, cut and cauterize soft tissue: “…the CO2 is much more effective. As for diode lasers or electrocautery devices, or any other surgical technology that I’ve ever considered – there’s just no comparison with what I have.”
Although Dr. Pederson was fortunate to receive her laser as a gift, she notes that laser surgery provides a significant revenue stream for her practice: “it is definitely a profitable investment! I mean, we charge an additional $100 for each surgery we perform with the laser. When we explain the benefits, when we show them your brochure – they almost always want laser! They want their pets to have bloodless surgery, to heal faster… So if we do three, four surgeries a week, that’s $300-$400 for our business. If we do ten surgeries a week, that’s $1,000 a week. But the important thing is that our clients actually see the positive impact it has on their pets.” If she had bought the laser, the doctor says that her revenues from laser surgery would likely match the original investment within the same year (considering the amount of surgeries performed with the laser).
The CO2 laser has greatly impacted the way veterinarians perform surgery, and pioneering advancements continue to transform the landscape of veterinary medicine every year…
…Invented in 1964 by Kumar Patel, the earliest CO2 lasers in the 1970s were all using articulated arms for delivering the laser beam to the target tissue. In 1991, after a series of groundbreaking inventions, Luxar Corporation launched the world’s first-ever CO2 surgical laser with flexible waveguide beam delivery, which became the world’s best-selling surgical laser (12,000 installations worldwide). The most recent advancement in CO2 laser technology comes in the form of the Aesculight laser, the very latest addition to the Luxar / Accuvet family. We recently met up with Dr. Pederson at the Las Vegas WVC show, where she had a chance to see the new Aesculight.
So what new features of the Aesculight laser appeal to you, Dr. Pederson? I ask the doctor. “There’s quite a bit – the increase in power, the cooling system, the ability to attach the smoke evacuator directly with the laser instead of using two separate units -these are just some of the things I would look for…” she explains.
Dr. Pederson also represents the growing demographic of women in veterinary medicine, who account for approximately 77% of newly minted veterinarians in the United States, according to Harvard University economist Claudia Goldin (cited at a recent lecture at the American Economic Association in Atlanta). Further, since most of the nation’s veterinary colleges now incorporate CO2 laser surgery into their curriculum – there are Aesculight and Luxar surgical lasers installed at over twenty veterinary colleges already – experts predict that the number of clinics incorporating CO2 laser surgery will soon rise in the months and years ahead. And veterinarians like Dr. Pederson will become its torchbearers.
When we ask Dr. Pederson about her interests outside of her profession, the doctor confesses that she is a workaholic: “my work is my main hobby, so everything related to my work is my hobby! I read a lot, do a lot of research…” In fact, the doctor also holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry. She was born in Paris, France, but grew up in Moscow, Russia before moving to the United States and eventually opening up her own practice, Advanced Animal Care. Dr. Pederson also enjoys water coloring, traveling, and horse-back riding. Last but certainly not least, one of her two Russian Borzois, Catherine, currently serves as the Social Director of her clinic (according to the doctor’s wonderful website, that is).
Dr. Pederson can be reached at:
Advanced Animal Care Hospital
8800 W. Charleston Boulevard, Suite 6
Las Vegas, NV 89117