Considering IPL: How Essential is It That I Consult with a Doctor First?

I'm pretty certain that IPL is the appropriate remedy for my red spots (broken veins around the nose and on the cheek) and freckles. Neither are serious. The plastic surgeon's office offers IPL; so does a non-medical clinic down the street, which is less expensive.

Doctor Answers 5

IPL consult

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It is my opinion as a dermatologist that when one is planning to treat a medical skin condition, one should ALWAYS consult with a dermatologist first. Lasers and light machines can be very dangerous but have the potential to be very effective if operated correctly. The most important thing is to consult with someone who is well trained on the particular machine you are planning to use.

It is important to be aware these procedures may be dangerous and cause permanent scarring if not operated by individuals who are well-trained on the particular device being used. Different skin types react differently to different lasers. Some skin types are more risky to treat with laser or light therapies. There are many different types and brands of IPL machines; some are excellent, some are useless, and some are dangerous. Whereas some people may be very well trained on a specific device, others may not be.

That being said, dermatologists know most about various skin types and conditions and therefore are most likely to deliver the best results with the least adverse side effects.

Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

Consulting before the IPL

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This is a significant issue in my opinion.  I could not agree more with Dr. Altman, patients need to know that seeing a qualified laser surgeon/doctor is extremely crucial.  There are so many nuances that need to be considered that some untrained doctor may not be aware of.  Please do you homework before you decide what type of spots you are treating. These benign skin issues may be more complicated than you think.  

Bhupesh Vasisht, MD
Voorhees Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Involvement of Treating Physician

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The BBL/ipl costs will vary across the country. Our cost starts at $150/per treatments depending on the scope of the treatment. We offer free consultation where we can be able to provide fees more accurately. It is important to have the treating physician involved with the treatment. I personally consult with patients, plan the procedure, and perform the treatment.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

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IPL is great for superficial small blood vessel removal

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If the blood vessels are simple then IPL can be fine but make sure they are not some other condition that needs management. I would suggest a physician to treat, especially if there are pigmented areas also. Some nasty skin cancers can present as a pigmented spot and the treatment is surgery for lab diagnosis and cure. Simple skin pigment spots can usually be treated with IPL if the care giver is well trained in IPL technology.

Harlow Hollis, MD
Victoria Plastic Surgeon

A consultation with a doctor is essential before any cosmetic procedures

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IPL seems like such a harmless thing.  That is not true.  It is a very powerful method of treatment of redness, brown spots, loose skin and excess hair.  When used correctly it can give great results.  When used incorrectly it can have side effects, such as burns, hypo or hyperpigmentation and scarring.

I think a consultation with a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon with training and experience in IPL is essential prior to and during treatment. 

Proper skin typing by questionnaire, not by just visual examination is essential prior to IPL.

And there should be no sun exposure ot the area treated for a month before and a month after the treatment.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

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.