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Laser light targets psoriasis

Step into the research spotlightFor some psoriasis patients with localized patches of psoriasis—on the scalp or on the elbows and knees, for example—laser light therapy can be an effective option.

"It's a single wavelength of light…for a very defined area of the body," says Dr. Stefan Weiss, a Boca Raton, Fla., physician, of the light-emitting laser therapy. Laser therapy generally is an in-office treatment, though Weiss says narrow-band light devices with a comb attachment can be used at home for scalp psoriasis. It generally takes three to five minutes. It is painless, with just a sensation of warmth when used at high intensity.

Dr. Raymond Dean, a Traverse City, Mich., dermatologist, says his staff uses a handheld laser wand device to treat patients' targeted areas of psoriasis.

"I have the narrow-band UVB (ultraviolet light B) targeted laser therapy, which is for site-limited areas like stubborn scalp psoriasis or on your hands or areas on the elbows and knees," Dean says. "Patients come in twice a week for about a dozen treatments and then we re-evaluate. The reason it appealed to me is (that) it's site-specific without giving a whole-body UVB treatment."

Patients who have found success through this treatment option say it treats scaly skin plaques quickly and effectively, generally within four to 10 brief treatment sessions. It can provide long-lasting relief.

Laser treatments use a carefully focused beam of laser light delivered through a sophisticated fiberoptic device that helps prevent exposing healthy skin to harmful ultraviolet rays.


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