Pulsed Light Treatment of Vascular Lesions
The human body is rife with many types of skin irregularities, some of which are mild and inconspicuous, while others are more complex and severe. Birthmarks, also known as vascular lesions in medical terms, are a typical anomaly that people encounter. The condition is caused by a skin or tissue anomaly that, in most cases, has no medical consequences.
Vascular lesions, such as Haemangiomas, pose no health risk. At most, people with this anomaly may just require cosmetic therapy. Otherwise, there is no need for medical treatment. However, the need for treatment becomes critical when severe lesion conditions, like venous and vascular malformations, develop in the body.
Types of Vascular Lesions
Three major types of vascular lesions exist — vascular malformations, Haemangiomas, and Pyogenic Granulomas. On the surface, these anomalies look alike. Yet, their causative factors and medical treatment processes differ.
Most pieces of medical evidence point to the notion that vascular malformations are largely the result of genetics, while the other two are thought to be caused by toxic exposures.
As the name implies, vascular malformations centre on anomalies in the blood vessel formations. The affected vessels affect blood flow due to the presence of lesions. As a result, there is discolouration of skin tissues in such regions. Vascular malformations are grouped into the following:
- Lymphatic malformations
- Venous malformations
- Arteriovenous malformations
- Capillary malformations
These abnormalities have exclusive attributes and diagnoses, making each treatment strategy unique.
This is a frequent kind of lesion in children. They emerge pinkish-red (bright red for superficial haemangiomas) on the skin surface in the early stages following birth, before darkening with time. Haemangiomas vary in size and thickness depending on the severity of the lesion. It is, nevertheless, noncancerous.
Even then, if left untreated, the afflicted region may develop complications such as infection, bleeding, and ulceration (a malady that results in permanent scarring). Haemangiomas might take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to grow, and then stabilize. It diminishes and disappears after that, typically leaving behind fatty tissue or skin.
Depending on the afflicted area, severe instances of this condition might be catastrophic. For example, if it forms around the eyelid or the ear canals, affected children may experience permanent vision loss or hearing loss. To avoid such serious side effects, this abnormality would necessitate proactive medical treatment.
Like haemangiomas, pyogenic granulomas are noncancerous and appear as red polyp like or ulcerating lumps. They appear as a result of tissue injury and grow quickly, particularly in places like the fingers and lips. When agitated, pyogenic granulomas can cause bleeding. Pregnant women and children are the people who are most impacted by this condition.
Treating Vascular with Pulsed Light
Intensive pulsed light (IPL) is effective in treating the three types of vascular lesions discussed in this guide, and even more. How does the IPL device or system work? It produces a specific amount of light energy (IPL beam) that affects the targeted capillaries or blood vessels directly without damaging the surrounding skin.
The heat energy generated by the IPL device is absorbed by these blood vessels, spanning a predetermined target range, generally 1 - 3 cm of the skin. During the procedure, their walls become irreversibly fused, removing the lesion permanently. The doctor can modify the IPL system to reach specific depths depending on the severity of the condition.
As a result, the technique can address areas that would otherwise be inaccessible to treatment. A typical IPL treatment takes anywhere between 15 - 30 minutes. Each treatment is unique based on:
- The characteristics of vascular lesion
- Its localization, and then
- Its spread
Since this treatment is non-invasive, patients do not require general or local anaesthetics. They'll simply feel a mild tingling or warmth in the treatment area.
Identifying Ideal Candidates for Treatment
The doctor will conduct a prognosis to establish the type of lesion present before beginning intense pulsed light treatment. A review of the patient’s medical history will be required as part of the prognosis to determine the duration of the lesion development, skin type, previous skin treatments, and any other skin conditions present. After reviewing the patient’s overall medical condition, the doctor can devise an optimal skin treatment technique for vascular lesions.
Ideal Number of IPL Procedures Required
For mild benign lesions, patients only need one treatment session to get the desired result. However, if the condition severe that it affects specific areas in the body, then there would be a need for multiple sessions.
Once treated, the treatment area usually doesn’t experience vascular lesions, especially if the patient adheres to post-treatment instructions.
Pre-and Post-IPL Treatment Care for Vascular Lesions
Before undergoing IPL treatment for vascular lesions, a patient must take note of the following skin care guidelines:
- Apply numbing cream within 30 - 90 minutes before treatment
- Avoid suntanning
- Avoid medications that may trigger haemorrhage, including blood thinners (heparin and warfarin), vitamin E, ibuprofen, aspirin, fish oil supplements, ginkgo and ginseng
The patient will experience little to no discomfort following therapy. However, minor side effects such as flushing or inflammation may occur, which disappears within a day. The full effects of this IPL technique might be seen right away or during the next two weeks.
Applying a prescribed ointment to the treatment area would be required for post-treatment care. What's more? Within a couple of weeks, the patient should avoid direct sunlight and any other conditions that might trigger blood vessel dilation. These would include:
- Strenuous activities, including exercises
- Solarium, and
Additionally, the patient needs to apply sunscreen to the skin as a form of protection against direct sunlight. Such products should ideally have an SPF of 30 or higher; this is because the skin is oversensitive at this point and the blood vessels may most likely dilate.
Vascular lesions are frequent skin abnormalities that affect millions of individuals across the world. Most of these people had desired to get rid of them for a long time but had no access to the appropriate skin treatment technologies to do so with minimal or no adverse effects.
However, technological advancements in the medical field have remedied this problem, since techniques such as intense pulsed light (IPL) skincare system enables quick and effective treatments. Anyone with any sort of vascular lesion can have it removed immediately, without any downtime.