Pulsed Dye Laser Cost

Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff

A pulsed dye laser is a form of laser treatment which is designed to help treat various skin problems such as age spots, birthmarks, moles and psoriasis, to name a few.  In some cases, it can also be used to help get rid of spider veins as well.

Pulsed Dye Laser Cost
Laser” (CC BY 2.0) by Mr ATM

Pulsed dye laser treatment cost

The cost of a pulsed dye laser treatment will greatly depend on a few factors, including the area being treated, your geographical region and the physician who you hire.  As with any cosmetic procedure, a physician located in the city will cost much more than one working in a rural area, and the same can be said about the physician you hire as someone in demand with multiple credentials will demand a higher charge than a physician fresh out of his or her residency.

If you were treating a smaller area, such as a tiny spot on the face or arms, then one treatment will often range anywhere from $100 to $150, whereas a full treatment, covering the entire face, neck, arms or legs, could cost anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500.

To help you budget for a potential procedure, we researched online to see what people paid and included our findings in our table below:

Price QuotedSource
$50 for mild rosacea on the cheeksLINK
$750 for giant birthmark on faceLINK
$1,000 for stretch mark removalLINK
$250 for noseLINK
$195 to remove red dots on abdomen and legsLINK
$450 for freckles on faceLINK
$750 for red face veinsLINK
$500 to reduce redness on nose, cheeks and foreheadLINK
$150 for cheek blushLINK
$350 to remove foot wartLINK
$1,500 to lessen redness from scars due to a breastliftLINK
$1,500 to remove belly button and tummy tuck scarsLINK
$250 for lip treatmentLINK

Reviewers on Realself.com, for example, noted the average prices they paid ranged anywhere from as little as $50 to more than $3,425, with the average being $725, but again, the primary factor was the exact area being targeted.

Will health insurance cover pulsed dye laser treatments?

In some cases, the answer can be yes; however, it will greatly depend on your policy restrictions and the reason why you’re considering the procedure.  Aetna, for example, considers the treatment medically necessary if you’re using it for genital warts, granuloma faciale, infantile hemangiomas, keloids or other hypertrophic scars and some cases of psoriasis, to name a few.  The company will not cover the procedure if it were to be used for experimental purposes such as treating acne, dysphonia, nail psoriasis or pilonidal disease, for example.  The list is quite long, so we recommend you read the entire list here to understand what an insurance company may or may not cover.

Since all insurance companies are so different, we highly recommend you talk with your insurance company and the doctor you hire to see if your health insurance policy will actually cover the procedure.

What is a pulsed dye laser treatment?

Most pulsed dye laser treatments, according to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, will be used to get rid of capillary malformations, which are the red to reddish-like patches found on the skin, commonly referred to as port wine stains, often varying in size but grow thicker as you age.  Other less common treatment methods, including spider veins, red spots on the skin and even masses of dilated blood vessels, can be treated as well.  With a list of conditions that can be treated with a pulsed dye laser treatment session, we created a list below with the most common reasons people go to their doctor for the treatment.

During the treatment, an intense light will target the affected area to destroy any irregular blood vessels beneath the skin, and depending on the reason for your visit, multiple sessions may be required.  Birthmarks, for example, could require up to eight sessions, whereas a freckle could only require one or two sessions.

The treatment

Before the treatment is even considered, your doctor will first want to meet with you to discuss your medical history, examine the area in question and explore your options.  If the doctor feels you’re a candidate, then they will explain how many sessions you may require and schedule your first session.  Most treatments, regardless of how many you need, will be spaced 30 days apart, with the first session often done with a lower frequency than average to see how your skin reacts to the laser.  For some, doctors may recommend avoiding the laser during the hotter summers months since the additional sun exposure could cause more harm than good.

During the treatment, you will be asked to lay back in a chair or flat on a table while wearing goggles.  For younger children, your doctor may recommend medication or anesthesia to help your child sleep during the duration of the procedure as it is important to remain still while the laser is in use.

While in position, your doctor will wave a wand-like instrument against the body part in question, effectively “pulsing” the laser on and off, similar to that of switching a flashlight off and on.  As this is being done, people report it similar to a rubber band snapping against the skin, feeling more shocking than harmful.  All depending on the severity of the treatment, the number of pulses will depend on the area, with an entire arm often taking more than 1,000 pulses, whereas a smaller birthmark may only take a few.

What can be treated with a pulsed dye laser?

Tips to know

If the frequency rate is too high, it can often cause scarring to the skin, and a good doctor will always start off with a lower frequency to help avoid this issue.  As a common compliant only, always discuss this with your doctor to know how he or she works with the frequency settings before the sessions begin.

In some cases, the very first treatment may not show a change in an appearance, often leading to frustration; however, do not let this worry you as your doctor will more than likely increase the frequency setting during your next session to improve your appearance.

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