According to the National Psoriasis Foundation (www.psoriasis.org), psoriasis affects nearly 2% of the global population. Psoriasis is a chronic, life-long illness and most people need ongoing treatments and visits to the doctor. In severe cases, people may need to be hospitalized. About 56 million hours of work are lost each year by people who suffer from psoriasis, and between $1.6 billion and $3.2 billion is spent per year to treat the condition. Traditional treatments range from topical creams or ointments to oral medications (which must be monitored for systemic side-effects) to ultraviolet phototherapy, which is extremely time-consuming and has other associated risks. The UVB handpiece on the HarmonyXL laser system provides psoriasis sufferers an alternative treatment that includes no pharmaceuticals, reduces the number of required sessions and takes only minutes.
Vitiligo is a form of leukoderma, or loss of skin pigmentation. Vitiligo affects at least 1% of the world’s population, and about half of people with this skin disorder experience some pigment loss before the age of 20. About one third of all vitiligo patients report that other family members also have the condition. Vitiligo develops as white spots in the skin that vary in size and location. The spots occur when melanocytes are destroyed and melanin can no longer be produced. Melanocytes normally occur throughout the skin, and in the hair follicles, mouth, eyes, and some parts of the central nervous system. With vitiligo, pigment cells can be lost in any of these areas.
Severe trauma such as burns can also destroy pigment cells, resulting in leukoderma. Stretch marks, acne scars, post-surgical and traumatic scars can also produce a similar loss of pigment. Until recently the only treatments available included UV phototherapy and topical or injected corticosteroids. And while none of these worked very well, there were some forms of leukoderma for which there was no known method of repigmentation.
The UVB handpiece available on the Harmony¨XL laser system has the ability to produce short pulses of 295 – 350 nm light, which has been demonstrated to successfully treat leukoderma, including vitiligo. While most UV therapies require treatments that expose both the effected and healthy skin, Alma’s UVB procedures only require treatment of affected areas, which minimizes the risk of injury to the surrounding areas and significantly reduces treatment times.
Technology in use
The UVB handpiece uses high-power, spectral irradiance in the UVB and UVA wavebands to target and treat dermatoses such as psoriasis, leukoderma, vitiligo, (striae distenase), atopic dermatitis (eczema) and seborrheic dermatitis.
Key advantages for physicians
- Faster treatment than either PUVA or UVB phototherapy
- UVB handpiece uses high-power, spectral irradiance in the UVB and UVA wavebands
Key advantages for patients
- Effective treatment for a chronic illness
- No need for topicals, creams or ointments
- Reduces the number of sessions required to see results