I read that psoriasis treatment may be possible using lasers. Can a doctor explain to me how this works, if at all?
Can Psoriasis Be Treated with Lasers?
Doctor Answers 3
Treating psoriasis with lasers
Treating psoriasis with lasers is a new concept, and typically refers to the use of excimer laser. At present, the data on this treatment is lacking, and there is no clear evidence that it is superior to the traditional narrow-band UVB phototherapy. It may be useful for stubborn localized areas of psoriasis that aren't responding to creams. Speak with your dermatologist about the best treatment options for you as there are constantly new treatments coming out that you may not be aware of.
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Laser Treatment for Psoriasis
The XTRAC® laser offers new hope to individuals suffering from psoriasis. Using an intense beam of focused laser light, the XTRAC laser gets right to the area of concern, leaving healthy surrounding tissue alone.
The XTRAC excimer laser treatment system offers psoriasis sufferers many benefits. Depending on the extent and severity of your psoriasis, these can include:
• Effective clearing — generally in 10 or less brief sessions
• Provides long-lasting relief—typically several months free of symptoms
• Quick, easy, painless treatment—sessions last only a few minutes
• Relief without messy creams and daily skin care regimen
• Covered by most major insurance companies
There is a role for laser in the treatment of psoriasis. The Eximer laser is a decent treatment, but in my personal opinion I think it is overrated by people who want to make a good buck off of its distribution and administration. I do not feel the Eximer laser is that much better than the UVB IPL. Both treatments are very good for stubborn and resistant plaques. Not too many of them though. Too many plaques and the patient probably needs a more systemic treatment such as Methotrexate or a biologic drug.
What does burn me up some is when a medi-spa tries to treat psoriasis and charges their "client" $1800 for a series of laser treatments when other modalities would have been far cheaper and more effective (actual case). Laser does nothing for psoriatic arthritis, yet I have seen physicians motivated more by greed than medical judgment attempting to treat this with laser.
I did use the Eximer laser for a few years and while it works, I think there are other methods that while not nearly as glamorous and high tech, work better. Needless to say the re-imbursements dwarf that of the laser. These would include narrow-band UVB, Psoralen plus UVA light, and steroid injections. The latter is time consuming but in my hands I felt worked as well as my Eximer laser.
For extensive and severe psoriasis: the biologics, Soriatane and occasionally Methotrexate would be indicated. For mild to moderate psoriasis we have a number of potent steroids and a new effective tar preparation.
So, yes l feel that laser treatment has a role in psoriasis, but other treatments should be tried first.
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These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.