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Ithaca: 2333 N. Triphammer Rd, Ste 203
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Broadband (BBUVB) Phototherapy

Dermatology Associates of Ithaca offers targeted Broadband UVB Phototherapy light treatment to patients in Ithaca and the surrounding areas. BBUVB is the administration of light to treat various skin diseases including psoriasis.


What does the treatment involve?

Prescribed treatment plan will be initially 2-3 times per week. The patient is placed in a specially designed booth containing special UV light tubes. Patient stands in the center of the booth, undressed, and wearing protective goggles. The whole body is usually exposed to the UVB for a short time (minutes and seconds). The amount of UV is carefully monitored. Protocols exist depending on the individual’s skin type, skin condition and other factors. The skin may turn slightly pink after each treatment. Let the office know if you experience any discomfort. Most patients require 15-25 treatments to clear.

Side Effects

  • BBUVB can result in burning, just like sunlight.
  • Moisturizer should be applied to burnt skin frequently and if recommended, topical cortisone steroids preparations may be prescribed.
  • Long-term exposure to ultraviolet radiation can cause damage to the skin and increase your risk of skin cancers
  • Itching
  • Skin discoloration
  • Eye damage if the eyes are not sufficiently protected

Important Guidelines

  • During treatment, GOGGLES need to be worn! Close your eyes as much as possible.
  • Wear the same attire each time you come (to allow same exposure sites)
  • You may bring unscented moisturizing lotion to apply before your treatment to allow better light penetration
  • DO NOT apply your medicated ointments/creams/gels 3-4 hours before your phototherapy treatment.
  • INFORM us anytime you start any new medications. Even over-the-counter medications can cause sun sensitivity and may result in burning during treatment. If you are sensitive to the sun because of a medical condition (lupus, porphyria) or medication (tetracycline, sulfa drugs), tell us before starting treatment.
  • Bring sunscreen to apply to those areas that will be exposed but not treated—i.e., your face.

Frequently Asked Questions (UVB)

BBUVB phototherapy treatment involves the exposure of skin to a special kind of ultraviolet light that improves psoriasis, eczema, itching,  vitiligo, and other conditions. It usually takes 15-30 treatments to achieve control of the skin condition, and because it is not a cure, you will still need to come in for maintenance light treatments regularly.

Broadband UVB phototherapy treatment can be effective in treating conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, mycosis fungoides, vitiligo, itching, and other skin diseases.

  • Although BBUVB provides a narrower spectrum of light than sunlight and thus is safer than sun exposure, there is still a possible increased risk of skin cancer and premature aging of the skin.
  • Redness and dryness of the skin, or a sunburn like reaction, may result after treatment. Please let the office know if you experience any discomfort.
  • Cataracts may develop if goggles are not worn during treatment.

There are other treatment options, but depending on the extent and severity of the psoriasis, BBUVB may be the most effective and safest option. Your provider will discuss recommendations based on your specific level and severity of disease involvement.

Although there are other options for eczema treatment in patients whose disease is not controlled by topical therapies, BBUVB has many fewer potential side effects than these options, which include immunosuppressive agents such as cyclosporine, methotrexate, mycophenolate mofetil, and azathioprine.

Patients who should not receive BBUVB treatment include those with a history of photosensitivity, lupus, porphyria, or other light sensitive disorders.

For the first 2-3 months of treatment, you should come in three times weekly. Once the condition improves, we will consider decreasing the frequency of weekly treatments.

BBUVB is generally covered by most insurances, although some patients have copays that need to be paid for each visit. To ensure that your particular plan covers your phototherapy treatment and for more details about copays, please contact your insurance company.

Important guidelines to remember include:

  • During treatment, GOGGLES need to be worn! Close your eyes as much as possible.
  • For full body treatments only: If you are a male, cover your genitals (with underwear or, if treating the groin, with a sock). If you are a female and your treatment includes the breasts, cover nipples with a Band-Aid or zinc oxide containing sunscreen.
  • Wear the same attire each time you come (to allow the same exposure sites) and make sure that you cover areas consistently during each treatment so that there are no new, unacclimated areas that are suddenly exposed and at risk for burning.
  • You may bring unscented moisturizing lotion to apply before your treatment to allow better light penetration but if you do this, you must apply it in the same way, with the same amount, every time.
  • DO NOT apply sunscreen or medicated ointments/creams/gels 3-4 hours before your phototherapy treatment.
  • INFORM us anytime you start any new medications. Even over-the-counter medications can cause sun sensitivity and may result in burning during treatment. If you are sensitive to the sun because of a medical condition (lupus, porphyria) or medication (tetracycline, sulfa drugs), tell us before starting treatment.
  • Bring sunscreen to apply to those areas that will be exposed but not treated—i.e., your face. Avoid additional exposure to the sun on treatment days.
  • It is very important to remain consistent with your treatments and not miss treatments.
  • You should make an appointment for evaluation of the treated areas with your provider every 2-3 months so we can make sure you are responding properly to treatment and not experiencing side effects.
  • Due to the possibility of an increased risk of skin cancer, you should see your provider at least once yearly for full skin exams.

Helpful Links
Broadband (BBUVB) Phototherapy Patient Handout

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