LED Phototherapy: How it works, Uses, Benefits & Risks [Complete Guide]

Posted by Yogesh Nadar on

The most common treatment for a high bilirubin level is phototherapy (bright light therapy). Phototherapy is the use of a specific type of light to treat a condition (not sunlight). It's occasionally used to treat infant jaundice by reducing bilirubin levels in your baby's blood through a photo-oxidation process. The bilirubin undergoes photo-oxidation, which adds oxygen to it and allows it to dissolve easily in water. If your baby has normal (physiological) jaundice, no extra therapy is required.

What is Phototherapy?

Phototherapy is a medical treatment that involves the use of shining fluorescent light from the bili lights to improve a patient's health. Fluorescent light bulbs, halogen lamps, or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) could all be used as treatments. Light phototherapy and heliotherapy are alternate terms for phototherapy.

How does it work?

Phototherapy is a very safe and effective treatment option. It does not contain any harmful rays. Light Phototherapy works by converting bilirubin in the skin into a form that does not cause deafness or harm to the brain. Phototherapy is required until the level of bilirubin in your baby's blood drops to a safe level.  The level of bilirubin in your baby's blood should be checked on a frequent basis. Phototherapy light is normally given to babies for 48 hours, although it is often given for longer if their bilirubin levels remain high.

What are the Types of Phototherapy?

The treatment involves the use of ultraviolet (UV) light, which is a type of light found in the sun, to reduce skin cell development and inflammation. Inflammation is one of the ways your immune system reacts to diseases and injuries.  UVB rays are harmful to the skin's outer layers. UVA photons are less strong than UVB rays, yet they penetrate deeper into the skin. UV radiation of these two categories can be employed in a variety of ways. For skin problems, there are four basic types of light therapy:

  • Broadcasting UVB — Here type B-UV light is used. It is not suitable for application on wrinkled skin.
  • Narrow-band UVB (nbUVB) – This type of UVB uses a smaller range of wavelengths. It has the ability to target more specific regions, including skin wrinkles.
  • PUVA - This UVA light treatment includes the administration of a drug called psoralen prior to treatment. It makes your skin more light-sensitive. Psoralen is available as a tablet or as a topical application.
  • Lasers – A UV light is emitted by an excimer laser. It has the ability to target specific parts of the skin.

Uses/Applications of Phototherapy

Phototherapy for skin increases vitamin D levels, which can help heal wounds, reduce inflammation, and combat skin cancer. It aids your skin's defence against disease-causing microorganisms. It can either treat or temporarily relieve chronic skin diseases like eczema. Different types of light are used in phototherapy treatments. Lightwaves are used in phototherapy to treat some skin diseases. Phototherapy is used to treat the following skin conditions:

  • Psoriasis: A skin condition in which red, silvery, scaly areas appear on the skin.
  • Eczema: An itchy, red skin condition caused by allergies, or dermatitis.
  • Mycosis fungicides: A kind of lymphoma that is only found on the surface of the skin.
  • Vitiligo: A skin disorder in which natural skin pigment is lost due to the immune system's elimination of pigment-producing cells.

Benefits & Risks Involved

Compared to therapies like radiation and chemotherapy, phototherapy offers much better benefits. To name a few Phototherapy benefits:

  • It is inexpensive and simple to use
  • Bilirubin breakdown products are not toxic to the CNS and are quickly eliminated through the kidneys and liver
  • It is the most effective mode of prevention and treatment of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia.

Despite the benefits listed above, phototherapy has its own set of risks and drawbacks. Reduced intestinal transit time, with loose, greenish stools; increased insensible water loss with delayed weight gain, skin rashes, and, infrequently, a brownish staining of the skin, urines, and plasma have all been reported in newborns.

FAQs About Phototherapy

How long does newborn phototherapy take?

When it comes to determining how long phototherapy should be given to a newborn infant, there is no established formula. Phototherapy may be necessary for only 24 hours or less in certain circumstances, it may be required for 5 to 7 days too.

Is phototherapy safe for newborns?

Yes, phototherapy is safe for newborns. Phototherapy is used in the treatment of jaundice i.e increased bilirubin in blood due to breakdown of rbcs after birth. Phototherapy has no long term effect on babies, so it’s correct to say that phototherapy is safe for newborns.

How often can you do phototherapy?

Phototherapy is mainly administered at a psoriasis clinic or hospital. Most patients require two or three phototherapy treatments per week to be effective. This implies that for several weeks, you must visit the treatment facility or hospital two or three times every week. You may need to go five times a week in some cases.

Which phototherapy machine is best for a newborn?

For a hospital or clinic in India, below are some of the best phototherapy devices for newborns. Phototherapy for infants with jaundice is available at TenTabs at the best price. TenTabs offers all India services as well as delivery at a fair price.

Check out phototherapy machine price offered by TenTabs: 

  1. Phototherapy Bilicure Smart LED - ₹28,160/-
  2. Dual Surface Phototherapy Unit LED - ₹51,000/-
  3. Bistos Phototherapy - LED BT 400 - ₹39,900/-
  4. Phototherapy Unit LED (With Trolley) - ₹38,600/-
  5. Radiant Heat Warmer Dual Sensor - ₹39,299/-

*Prices updated on 8th March 2022


Disclaimer: This website is not intended to give medical advice. The content on this website, including but not limited to text, pictures, photographs, and other material, is provided solely for informative reasons. This website's content is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions, always seek the counsel of your doctor.

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