Phototherapy is based on the healthy properties of sunlight. Sunlight's healing properties have been captured through the medical use of artificial ultraviolet light. Phototherapy can be delivered by laser light technologies, special types of lamps, such as fluorescent lamps, and full-spectrum bright lights. Phototherapy may involve the use of ultraviolet-A rays (UVA) or ultraviolet-B rays (UVB), and these specialized light rays may be used in different wave forms and in combination with medicines to enhance the treatments for complex skin diseases.
- PUVA: PUVA phototherapy uses the drug psoralen in combination with UVA light. For treatment, you will first take psoralen either by mouth, as a skin ointment or as a skin bath to prepare the skin, making it more sensitive to the UVA light. Then you will undergo the UVA light therapy. You may require up to 25 PUVA treatments over several months to achieve optimal results if you have serious, chronic skin diseases such as psoriasis.
- High-intensity UVB: Delivered by a special laser called the Excimer, this therapy allows UVB to be delivered at high intensity specifically targeting individual lesions on the skin. This helps to heal the lesion while sparing exposure of the normal surrounding skin to the UVB light. High-intensity UVB therapy requires treatment to be delivered 2-3 times a week.
- Broad-band or Narrow-band UVB: UVB can be delivered in broad-band light waves requiring 3-4 treatments per week, or narrow-band light waves requiring 2-3 treatments per week.
After your phototherapy treatment
When recovering from your surgery it is important to be aware of the following:
- To prevent swelling, apply cool compresses for approximately 15 minutes every hour for the first 6 – 12 hours.
- Keep the treated area elevated for a few days after the procedure.
- Drink plenty of water for the first few days.
- To prevent a blood clot, please walk 5 – 10 minutes every hour while awake for the first few days after your procedure.
- Keep the skin clean. Wash the area gently using a mild soap. Avoid the use of abrasives, exfoliating sponges or exfoliating masks on the treated areas.
- To prevent infection, don't peel, pick, scrape, or scratch the skin.
- To control any pain, use analgesics such as Tylenol, Advil or aspirin for mild, lingering pain. For more severe pain, your doctor may prescribe pain medication.
- Avoid excessive physical activity for two weeks after your procedure.
- Avoid saunas, baths or swimming pools for two weeks after your procedure.
- Avoid flying or long car rides (longer than 45 minutes) for two weeks after your procedure.
- For best results, wear compression stockings during the day for the first two weeks after your procedure.
Please contact the nurse if you develop:
- A temperature of 100° F or greater
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Possible infection