Phototherapy is the controlled delivery of artificial ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light (a portion of the light emitted by the sun) is subdivided into UVA, UVB
- UVA and UVB light wavelengths are beneficial for the treatment of a variety of skin disorders including, but not limited to, psoriasis, vitiligo, mycosis
fungoides(cutaneous T-cell lymphoma), chronic itching (pruritus and/or prurigo) and various types of dermatitis (eczema).
- When UV light is absorbed into the skin, it suppresses the immune function of the skin. This helps to rid the skin of immunologic problems that lead to skin damage and destruction. Fortunately, UV therapy does not suppress the overall immune function of the body (systemic immunity).
Narrowband UVB (NB-UVB) therapy is 311nm wavelength light that suppresses abnormal lymphocyte function in the skin. NB-UVB is thought to be superior to Broad Band UVB light exposure because narrowband light eliminates the most dangerous shortwave UVB rays. Those short rays are most highly associated with the induction of skin cancer.
Length of treatments will vary depending on your condition. Most patients initially require 3-5 treatments a week. Typically, treatments start with only a few seconds of light exposure and may increase gradually as determined by
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Expected Benefits Of Phototherapy
- Improvement of existing lesions
- Reduction of new lesions
- Remission- in many cases phototherapy has resulted in a near-total clearing of the disease process. Duration varies with each patient. Maintenance therapy may be required.
Risks and side-effects of phototherapy:
- Most common is UVB-induced sunburn. Certain drugs can also cause sunburn, so it is important that your doctor knows of any medications you may be taking.
- Possible with any form of UV light that an increased incidence of skin cancer may occur later in some patients.
- May cause dryness or itching.
- May age skin over time and may increase freckles and pigmentation of the skin.
- May damage the eyes and increase
riskof cataracts. This is preventable with protective eye goggles. This will be given to you and are required for treatment.
- May cause
flare upof fever blisters and mouth sores in susceptible people.
- Long-term UV exposure to the unprotected genital area in men can cause an increase in genital cancer.
- May cause exacerbation of other medical conditions such as lupus erythematosus which have
sensitivityto UV wavelength.
Meet Our Providers
Our providers continue to maintain the highest levels of accreditation and progressive ongoing education to learn and understand the latest developments in medical dermatology. Each provider's education and bio can be viewed below.
Melanie Kuechle, MD
Dr. Kuechle is a native of Texas and a graduate of Baylor University College of Medicine. She completed her dermatology residency at...
Janet M. Trowbridge, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Trowbridge is a native of upstate New York and a graduate of the New York University Schools of Medicine and...