Dermatology (Skin conditions)

Scleroplus pulse dye or KTP laser – Pre Treatment

This information is intended to help you understand what will happen during laser treatment. If you have any further questions regarding your treatment please do not hesitate to ask the Laser Nurse Specialist / Medical Staff caring for you.

How does the laser work?
Laser treatment can be used to treat a number of conditions including Port Wine Stains (PWS), haemangioma, telangiectasia, spider naevii and red scars. The treatment involves the use of a laser light specially designed to treat blood vessels in the skin. The light heats the blood and the blood vessel. The heat destroys or damages the blood vessel. The light produced by the laser is very bright and can affect the eyes. Everyone must wear special protective goggles during treatment.

What does the laser do?
The laser should reduce the redness of the skin. Many patients find that the redness does not go away completely. However, the skin should fade to match the surrounding skin more closely. You may need to have a course of treatment, with a visit every six to eight weeks. The results may be patchy initially. There may be only a partial effect.

What does treatment feel like?
The lasers cause a short stinging sensation in the skin. This may feel like being flicked with an elastic band or plucking a hair. The Scleroplus laser may produce small dark-red or purple bruises. This will make the area treated more noticeable for seven to ten days. The KTP laser does not cause bruising but the treated area may be slightly red, like mild sunburn. This effect lasts for one to three days.
Both lasers use a cooling device to reduce the discomfort. Most people can tolerate the treatment without any anaesthetic. However, local anaesthetic cream or injection is available if you prefer.

Are there any disadvantages to laser treatment?

  • Treatment cannot be carried out if you have a suntan as this may affect the outcome of your treatment as discussed with your clinician. You must not go into the sun for two weeks after treatment.
  • You may feel some discomfort for a few hours after treatment. You may find that a cool pack or a mild painkiller such as paracetamol is useful. Do not use aspirin as this may make the bruising worse.
  • The skin surface may blister, weep or become crusted (see after treatment information leaflet for management).
  • Swelling may occur in the area that is treated. This is more common around the eye or upper cheek.
  • Scarring is extremely rare. It can, however, occur at any site. It is more likely where the skin is very thin (such as the neck) or if any blister becomes infected or any scab picked.
  • The texture of the skin surface may change. This is unlikely. It is more likely to happen if you have had a lot of treatments over a long period of time.
  • The brown colour of your skin may darken or lighten. This is usually temporary and settles in 3-12 months. It can occasionally be permanent.

Preparation

  • Please do not wear hairspray, perfume or after-shave on the day of treatment. These substances increase the risk of burning your skin.
  • You will need to remove any makeup covering the area to be treated. You can do this after you arrive at the clinic, before your photograph is taken.
  • If you are prone to cold sores you may find that the laser activates a new one. Make sure that you have some antiviral cream at home just in case. If you are suffering from a cold sore at the time of your planned treatment then please contact the laser nurse at the telephone number below.
  • If the treatment involves the eyelids or surrounding area you should not drive home as the area may swell and temporarily interfere with your vision.

On arrival

  • We will take a photograph of the area that is to be treated. This helps us to assess how well your treatment is going.
  • You will need to sign a consent form for a course of treatment (if you have not already done so). The consent procedure will be fully explained to you by the Laser Nurse Specialist or Medical staff.
  • If you would like to have local anaesthetic cream or an injection of local anaesthetic, please tell the nurse when you arrive.
  • The time taken for each treatment varies greatly depending on the condition involved. This will be explained verbally at your first clinic appointment.
  • We will let you know if there are any delays to your treatment. We do our best to avoid delays but they do happen sometimes. We apologise for any inconvenience you may be caused on these occasions.

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