Chinese Laser HandPiece - A Case Study

Dr Andrew J Berry
By Dr Andrew J Berry

Dr Andrew J Berry is the director responsible for HR, QA, Compliance and introducing Surgical Lasers into the Lynton portfolio.

A while ago, with the deregulation of the use of Class 3B/4 Lasers and IPLs in cosmetic practices looming, Lynton wanted to investigate the possible dangers faced by those clinic or salon operators who might consider purchasing one of the many low-cost laser or IPL products that were becoming readily available from Chinese manufacturers.

After trying to select one of the better suppliers, based, as best we could, on alleged certification status, this is what we found – concentrating on just a laser handpiece as an example.

A laser handpiece consists of the following main elements:

  1. handpiece casing,
  2. internal metalwork,
  3. laser rod,
  4. flashlamp,
  5. reflector to concentrate the flashlamp light into the rod,
  6. high voltage and earth cabling,
  7. sealing means (the flashlamp and rod need to be water-cooled) and
  8. passive Q-switch crystal (a Q-switched handpiece is needed for, e.g. tattoo removal).

We took delivery of such a handpiece and compared it against the performance of handpieces produced by more well-known manufacturers (including Lynton’s own handpiece).

First of all, the Chinese handpiece had a lower specification than was claimed in the accompanying “User Manual” (if a few pieces of paper can be so described). In an attempt to reach the quoted specification, and then match the performance more typical of handpieces produced by the well-known established manufacturers, the following characteristics of the Chinese handpiece were confirmed :

Handpiece Casing:

Ugly, cheap-looking, ergonomically poor, not comfortable to use.

Internal Metalwork:

Low quality, some of it quickly went rusty (e.g. fasteners) indicating a reluctance to used quality materials like stainless.

Laser Rod:

Actually, this was reasonably okay.


Easily the worst item. Very low quality indeed. Very low lifetime when you tried to get a reasonable output. Described by our own UK flashlamp supplier as “1970’s technology”.


Diffuse powder reflector sprayed onto aluminium and then in contact with the cooling water flow. The reflector burnt the instant we tried to get a reasonable output specification. Cooling water was then contaminated. Good systems use a ceramic reflector.

High Voltage Cabling:

Clearly below specification for safety. Insufficient insulation.

Sealing Means:

An unreliable (and messy) silicone sealant with a high risk of allowing leaks. Good systems use O-ring seals.

Passive Q-Switch Crystal:

Reasonably okay, but European crystals perform better.

Add to all this the fact that there was no way the design was going to be EMC-compliant (no shielding at all) or comply with safety standards (a conductive path all the way to the patient) and it became clear that anybody who invested in such a piece of equipment would be putting themselves (and their clients) at significant risk, but could at least comfort themselves with the knowledge that they wouldn’t be doing so for too long before the equipment quickly degraded and became effectively unusable.

And then there is the question of product training, the provision and fitting of consumable and spare parts, and general service & customer support. How do you get this with a system bought off the internet, or from a UK-based “distributor” who seems strangely reluctant to admit to an address, or even a landline telephone number, on their website?


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