Consult and Price Quote Institute of Laser Medicine, LA, CA

I recently completed a consultation with the Institute of Laser Medicine (ILM) located in the UCLA Medical Plaza in Los Angeles, CA, and thought other men with my respective hair removal needs might be interested in my experience.

ILM uses “Photolysis HR” (a marketing term for a flash lamp procedure using multiple pulses) as their laser hair removal technology of choice. Andrea’s site has terrific detail content on ILM, their website links, and some interesting legal information regarding ILM’s advertising practices in the past.

I’m a “4” on the skin type chart and am looking to have hair removed from my upper arms, neck, shoulders, and back. My body hair is dark/black and tends to be coarse and thick, but is not densely or evenly spread across all of the body areas I mentioned. I tend to have sparse areas or patches of coarse and thick hair, but am not wearing a “sweater.” I appear to be an “easy fix” regarding hair removal. I underwent several electrolysis procedures about 12 years ago, but the results were negligible and the process incredibly painful and expensive.

To expedite reading speed, I’ll use a listing technique to get you through the key aspects of my ILM experience.

</font>[ul][li]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Free consultation time slots tend to fill up fast (especially on Saturday), so booking an appointment at a time that’s convenient may involve some significant flexibility for those who work full-time during the week.[/li]</font></li>[li]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>When booking a free consultation, you’ll be asked to provide a credit card number and card expiration date so that you can be charged a $50.00 fee for not canceling 24 hours in advance if you fail to show up for your scheduled appointment.[/li]</font></li>[li]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Upon arrival for your consultation, you’ll be asked to complete a short form on which you provide your mailing address, place of employment and job title, e-mail address, and body areas you wish to have treated.[/li]</font></li>[li]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>After being seated in a consultation room, I read and listened to an audiovisual PowerPoint slide presentation that modeled the same information found on the ILM website. This process took less than 8-10 minutes.[/li]</font></li>[li]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Once I completed the viewing, a counselor greeted me, and used more of a sales approach (versus medical procedure discussion) when describing what ILM had to offer. She raced through a couple questions she had for me; had me take off my shirt to determine that I was a “4” skin type (olive complexion; dark/black hair); and drew up a price quote for my back and shoulders (the quote included my upper arms and neck as well).[/li]</font></li>[li]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>I was prepared to use all of the detail consult tips provided on Andrea’s and others’ websites, but the counselor didn’t have much patience for my questions. She tended to be short with me, cut me off, or give a quick, fragmented response. My takeaway was that she wanted to provide a quick price quote and quickly get me scheduled for my first treatment. I got the impression that she needed to move on to the next consult scheduled.[/li]</font></li>[li]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>I declined to schedule a first treatment, but did receive a consultation checklist/policies document that I acknowledged with my signature and hand-printed name. The document simply repeats what I was told in my consultation, the treatment fees proposed, and outlines cancellation/late arrival policies and related treatment deposit/fee forfeitures. [/li]</font></li>[li]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The counselor recommended four treatments (performed by a registered nurse, after my inquiry; not a doctor or technician). When questioned why the number was four, she answered that this approach was based on an average number of treatments necessary to achieve satisfactory results. The policies document I signed states that results vary and more than four treatments may be necessary.[/li]</font></li>[li]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The prices quoted to me were as follows:[/li]</font></li>[/ul]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”></font>[LIST=A][li]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”> First treatment: $2,250.00 (not a typo; and quoted as a “fee” versus a session price; $400.00 due when appointment scheduled; balance due when treatment completed)[/li] </font></li>[li]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”> Second treatment: $250.00 / session[/li]
</font></li>[li]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”> Third treatment: $250.00 / session[/li]
</font></li>[li]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”> Additional treatments: $250.00 / session[/li]
</font></li>[li]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”> Number of estimated sessions for each treatment: 2-2 ½[/li]
</font></li>[li]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”> 1 Session = 50 minutes[/li]
</font></li>[li]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”> Payment in full is required at the time of each treatment[/li]
</font></li>[li]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”> This price quote is valid for four months from time of consultation[/li]
</font></li>[li]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”> Prices on follow-up treatments are subject to an increase January 1 of each year[/li]
</font></li>[/LIST]<font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>There are numerous worst and best case scenarios that can be made regarding what my total cost would be to achieve satisfactory results. For purposes of brevity, I won’t list them all here. Essentially, my best case scenario is that I require only four treatments, and that my total cost is approximately $3,750-$4,125. Per session cost is approximately $469-$515 per treatment.

Based on research conducted via numerous websites recommended by Andrea, ILM’s price quote appears to be materially higher than other laser hair removal providers. I’m aware of the “you get what you pay for” concern and I appreciate that medical professionals have a right to recoup business operating expenses and generate a reasonable profit.

What alarms me about my ILM experience is the combination of higher prices, assertive/aggressive sales tactics related to a medical procedure, and a lack of warm, medical professionalism on behalf of all the staff I met. I felt like I was contracting for a home remodel, not evaluating whether or not to undergo a medical procedure.

Throughout my experience with ILM, I noted a bit of arrogance. It seemed like perhaps they were doing so well business wise, that my business wasn’t that important. Maybe it’s currently simple economics: the demand for ILM services (and related patient bookings) is so great that they can afford to be less concerned that a lost revenue opportunity results from their business/medical approach.

Please note that this was my own personal experience and I’m not implying that you will have the same overall experience as mine. It appears, based on information provided via ILM’s website and literature, that thousands of patients have achieved satisfactory results via ILM’s services. I’m just a little more particular when it comes to matching price and quality. I’m often willing to pay a premium for a service if I perceive that quality will result throughout my overall experience. My perception is that ILM isn’t interested in delivering on this expectation.

In the end, I’m continuing my research to determine how to achieve the hair removal results I’m seeking, at reasonable price aligned with a quality, professional medical approach.