Pulsed Dye Laser
Treatment with pulsed dye laser consists of placing a hand piece against the surface of the skin and activating the laser. Many patients describe each pulse to feel like the snapping of a rubber band against the skin. The patient is provided with protective opaque eye cover or goggles. The treatment is very quick, requiring only about a half hour. The machine releases a cool spray before issuing the laser, providing a more comfortable experience for the patient.
Pulsed Dye Laser
- avg. recovery
About the Procedure
A pulsed dye laser is a specialized laser that targets the blood vessels in your skin. The laser passes through your skin and is absorbed as heat by the blood vessels. The heat breaks the blood vessels apart so they can be reabsorbed by your body. Soon the remnants clear away leaving behind a natural skin tone. The pulsed dye laser uses a concentrated beam of light at a wavelength of 595nm, near to the hemoglobin's and oxyhemoglobin's absorption peaks. The high intensity light is therefore absorbed most selectively by blood and blood cells. It is therefore considered the most specific laser currently available for the treatment of superficial vascular lesions. It delivers pulsed laser energy at a wavelength of 595nm that passes through the dermis and epidermis skin layers and is absorbed by the oxyhemoglobin in the blood vessels rather than by the surrounding tissue. The physician should apply laser pulses in a non-overlapping manner to prevent excessive thermal damage (burns) that could result in blistering and scarring.
The goal of a pulsed dye laser treatment is to treat superficial/cutaneous vascular lesions or nonvascular lesions but with vascular structural involvement.
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.
- Minimal preparation is needed
- Wear sunscreen daily for 1 month prior
- Topical or local anesthetic
- Laser is applied to the treatment area, targeting uneven irregular vascular structures
Bruising or dark purple appearing skin after treatment is normal. Any bruising fades relatively quickly over a 1-3 week period.
The ideal candidate for pulsed dye laser treatment has portwine stains (vascular malformation), rosacea, red striae, hypertrophinc scars, superficial hemangiomas, cherry angiomas, and/or spider veins. The FDA has cleared the PDL for use in treatment of warts, port-wine stains, hemangiomas, hypertrophic scars, and spider veins.
Not Recommended For
Pulsed dye laser treatment is not recommended for use on darker skin tones due to risk of hypopigmentation.
Side effects pulsed dye laser treatments are uncommon but may include blistering, crusting, hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, and scarring. The risk of scarring appeared to increase with the number of treatments.