Painless Laser Therapy Gives New Hope to Local Sufferers of Embarrassing Skin Diseases

July 8, 2008 - Bremerton, Washington – For the first time in their lives, patients who suffer from some of the most frustrating and embarrassing skin diseases including psoriasis, vitiligo, and atopic dermatitis have real hope for effectively, conveniently, and painlessly treating their conditions. 

The DoctorsClinicProfessionalSkinCareCenter is proud to be the first and only medical practice in the region to offer the PHAROS EX-308 excimer laser, a gentle and painless phototherapy laser shown to be effective in treating these difficult-to-treat conditions. Two of these high tech lasers have arrived on the KitsapPeninsula. One can be found at The Doctors Clinic Port Orchard and the other at the SalmonMedicalCenter in Silverdale.

The PHAROS EX-308 excimer laser is different from cosmetic lasers. The PHAROS EX-308 delivers a highly energetic, painless beam of UVB light directly to the psoriasis, vitiligo, and atopic dermatitis patches through a hand piece that rests directly on the patient’s skin. It features the most advanced optical technology on the market, including an adjustable spot size and guiding aiming beam, to precisely target only the affected skin and spare the surrounding healthy tissue from exposure. There is no downtime for the patients.

Psoriasis is a non-contagious, lifelong skin disease that affects an estimated 7 million Americans. The most common form, plaque psoriasis, appears as raised, red patches or lesions covered with a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells, called scale.  In addition to discomfort and itching, psoriasis patients commonly suffer from social embarrassment and depression. Even worse for patients, the usual treatments are messy, time-consuming, and costly. Topical creams and ointments have to be applied several times a day, conventional phototherapy requires 30-40 treatments and thrice weekly office visits, and the newer biological treatments usually cost the patient $2000-$3000 out of pocket each year. 

At The Doctors Clinic, the PHAROS EX-308 excimer laser is changing the way patients manage their psoriasis and is helping them achieve rapid clearing and long remissions.  Patients come in twice each week for an average of 4 to 6 weeks, and each quick treatment session usually takes only 5-10 minutes.  Patients usually enjoy several months of treatment-free remission.

“My patients love it. They tell me that the laser sessions fit into their lifestyle and they appreciate being freed from the burden of applying steroids several times everyday.  Patients begin to see results after only a few sessions and enjoy much greater self-esteem and a higher quality of life,” states Dr. Christina Hardaway, board-certified dermatologist at The Doctors Clinic Port Orchard, who has been using the PHAROS EX-308 excimer laser on trial for the last several months.

Equally exciting for psoriasis patients, the targeted high-dose laser therapy can effectively treat stubborn plaques including knees, elbows, palms, soles, and scalp, even those that have not responded to other treatments. 

Vitiligo is characterized by the appearance of white patches of skin on different parts of the body as a result of the destruction of melanocytes. This may vary from one or two white spots on the skin to large areas of depigmentation. Vitiligo is not contagious.  For some people, although not for everyone, the depigmentation is progressive. Vitiligo affects 1 to 2 percent of the world's population including approximately 2 to 5 million Americans.

Prior to the PHAROS EX-308, vitiligo patients’ treatment options were usually limited to topical steroids with limited efficacy and traditional phototherapy that often required hundreds of treatments and exposed all of the patients’ skin to UV, increasing risks such as photo-aging and development of cancer.  Now vitiligo patients at The Doctors Clinic Professional Skin Care Center can benefit from the PHAROS EX-308’s proven repigmentation technology with none of the downsides of steroids or old-fashioned phototherapy. 

“The PHAROS EX-308 allows precise targeting of only the patient’s white patches and exposes none of their healthy tissue, enabling the best medical and cosmetically-appealing results possible.” commented Dr. Hardaway. 

The PHAROS EX-308 is also indicated for atopic dermatitis, hereditary skin inflammation that commonly affects infants, children, and young adults. 

Insurance companies including Blue Cross, UnitedHealthcare, Cigna, Aetna, TriCare, and Medicare have recognized the efficacy and safety of excimer laser treatments and now reimburse for these treatments. 

“Beyond the exciting clinical results we are achieving with the PHAROS EX-308, my patients are thrilled that these laser treatments are frequently covered by their insurance companies.  This makes this state-of-the-art therapy affordable and accessible for my patients,” added Dr. Hardaway.

More information about PHAROS EX-308 excimer laser treatments can be obtained from any of The Doctors Clinic Professional Skin Care Centers.

Appointments for evaluation and treatment with the PHAROS EX-308 excimer laser can be made with Christina Hardaway, MD at The Doctors Clinic Port Orchard, (360) 782-3000; Irene Buño, MD or Dianne Levisohn, MD at Salmon Medical Center, (360) 830-1102;    Lynn Sudduth, MD at The Doctors Clinic Poulsbo, (360) 782-3500; or Daniel Frum, MD at The Doctors Clinic East Bremerton, (360) 782-3701.

Treatments with the PHAROS EX-308 excimer laser can be performed at either The Doctors Clinic Port Orchard found on the South Kitsap Healthcare Campus, 450 South Kitsap Boulevard, Suite 2860 in Port Orchard or SalmonMedicalCenter located at 2200 Myhre Road in Silverdale.

About The Doctors Clinic

The Doctors Clinic is a progressive medical organization providing comprehensive medical services to the Kitsap Peninsula and Bainbridge Island. The DoctorsClinicProfessiona Skin CareCenter includes five board-certified dermatologists who specialize in clinical and cosmetic dermatology. Dermatology services are available at BainbridgeIsland, East Bremerton, Port Orchard and Poulsbo clinic locations and the SalmonMedicalCenter in Silverdale.

With a mission of excellence in patient care, The Doctors Clinic is committed to personalized and compassionate care. The Doctors Clinic provides leadership in improving the health of the communities we serve.