Pulsed Dye Laser

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A pulsed dye laser (PDL) treatment is FDA-approved to reduce the appearance of vascular skin lesions.

Pulsed Dye Laser Overview - 869

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The Skinny


Average Recovery

2 weeks

Permanence

Temporary

Application

Laser/Light Therapy

Surgical

No

Cost

$400 - $800

The Specifics


What is a pulsed dye laser?

A pulsed dye laser (PDL) treatment is a cosmetic procedure approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat vascular skin lesions. Laser pulse heat from the handpiece passes through the skin and is absorbed by blood vessels (not surrounding tissue), which are then broken down to be cleared by the body. This process restores the natural skin tone for a smooth, even skin appearance.

Pulsed dye laser is used in dermatology to treat vascular malformations like port wine stains, rosacea, telangiectasias, superficial hemangiomas, hypertrophic scars, spider veins, and certain birthmarks. A number of treatments will be needed with the pulse dye laser for best results.

What cosmetic concerns does a pulsed dye laser procedure treat?

  1. Uneven Skin Tone: Pulsed dye laser energy can breakdown abnormal skin pigmentation due to vascular skin lesions.
  2. Aging Hands: Uneven skin pigmentation leading to appearance of aged hands can be corrected with pulse dye laser treatments.
  3. Melasma: Pulsed laser energy delivered at a wavelength that can pass through the dermis and epidermis is absorbed by oxyhemoglobin to destroy blood vessels and the vascular supply of skin lesions.
  4. Mommy Makeover: Pulse dye laser can help to remove areas of hyperpigmentation or scarring following pregnancy.
  5. Veins: PDL therapy can be used to target broken veins below the skin.

Who is the ideal candidate for a pulsed dye laser procedure?

The ideal candidate for a pulsed dye laser treatment is seeking to reduce the appearance of vascular lesions of the skin. A pulsed dye laser treatment is not recommended in darker skin types due to the risk of hypopigmentation, those with certain skin conditions, or those with a history of keloids.

What is the average recovery associated with a pulsed dye laser procedure?

There is typically minimal recovery associated with a pulsed dye laser treatment. Bruising will fade over one to three weeks. Good skin care and limited sun exposure will aid recovery and improve results.

What are the potential side effects of a pulsed dye laser procedure?

Possible side effects following a pulsed dye laser treatment include crusting, blistering, scarring, purpura, hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation, and infection at the treatment site.

What can someone expect from the results of a pulsed dye laser procedure?

The results of a pulsed dye laser treatment will develop over several sessions. Maintenance treatments are typically needed every six months once the desired results have been achieved.

What is the average cost of a pulsed dye laser procedure?

A pulsed dye laser treatment can cost anywhere from $400 to $800. The actual cost of a pulsed dye laser treatment is dependent upon location, board certified plastic surgeon, and length and involvement of the plastic surgery.

thumbs-upPros

  • Remove Vascular Lesions
  • Lighten Vascular Lesions
  • Improve Texture Of Vascular Lesions

thumbs-downCons

  • Multiple Treatments
  • Varied Results
  • Bruising
  • Skin Discoloration
  • Crusting
  • Light Sensitivity

Invasiveness Score

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Invasiveness is graded based on factors such as anesthesia practices, incisions, and recovery notes common to this procedure.

What to Expect


Pulsed dye laser treatment can treat superficial vascular lesions or nonvascular lesions but with vascular structural involvement. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after pulsed dye laser treatment.

The Takeaway


A pulsed dye laser (PDL) treatment is a cosmetic procedure used to reduce the appearance of vascular skin lesions through progressive destruction of blood vessels.

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Source List

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AEDIT uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association What Can Make My Hands Look Younger? American Academy of Dermatology Association
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