This is the worlds most effective pulsed dye laser.
Which conditions can be treated?
We are able to treat red birthmarks e.g. (port wine stain), facial redness, some telangiectasia (fine facial veins) and some other conditions where there are abnormal blood vessels in the skin including generalised essential telangiectasia, some haemangiomas, radiation telangiectasia, reticulate vascular naevus, angiofibromas and some scars and warts.
How does the laser treatment work?
The lasers produce an intense yellow light which is absorbed preferentially by red blood cells inside blood vessels. This produces thermal (heat) energy which damages the blood vessels. The surrounding tissue absorbs hardly any of the laser beam and is not usually affected. This means that the risk of scarring is very small.With the V-Beam laser, the risk of damage to the surrounding skin isminimised by using a cryogenic spray (cold spray) to freeze the surface of the skin a fraction of a second before the laser treatment.
What are the benefits of laser treatment?
- Port wine stains
About 80% of port wine stains can be improved by laser treatment. The response to treatment depends on the colour, depth, age and position of the port wine stain.
Thread veins on the face and nose usually respond well and 70% clearance is achievable with several treatments.
- Other lesions
What happens when I come for a treatment?
You will be treated in a designated laser theatre and will have to wear protective eyewear. You may have test patches performed or have a full treatment depending on your condition. The laser pulse stings each time it impacts on the skin and many pulses are needed to cover large areas. In most cases no anaesthetic is needed but if the skin is very sensitive, anaesthetic cream (EMLA) will be offered.
Treatments are repeated at 4 weekly intervals and the number of treatments required varies widely. Small areas may need just one or two treatments and large lesions may require six to twenty treatments.
What happens after treatment?
Immediately after treatment the skin will turn purple and may be swollen. Any treatment near the eye may cause swelling and temporary closure of the eyelids. The discolouration of the skin usually fades over one or two weeks.
What are the risks of treatment?
The commonest side effect is a temporary change in the colour of the treated skin which can last for several months. Some people develop pale areas and others light to dark brown discolouration depending on the skin type. These changes are more common after sun exposure or in those with pigmented skin. It is recommended that you use a high factor sunscreen (SPF 15) during the summer months.
Occasionally the skin can blister and form crusts after treatment. These changes resolve with good skin care and frequent application of moisturisers or antiseptic cream. There is a small risk of scarring but fortunately this is rare.
What if it does not work?
Not everyone will have good response to laser treatment. If you do not have a good response to treatment or experience side effects you will be reviewed by your dermatologist.
If you do not feel that you are making good progress or that there are side effects the dermatologist will be able to discuss with you whether to continue the treatment.
Recommended precautions prior to treatment?
Avoid getting a suntan: no sunbathing, no sun bed and use no fake tan application.
Make sure that your doctor knows if you have a medical condition.
Avoid Aspirin for two weeks prior to treatment as this can make bruising worse (unless you are taking it for a medical condition e.g. stroke or heart attack).