Diathermy is a technique that involves delivering intense heat to destroy unwanted tissue.
Itworks by delivering a high intensity electrical current through a fine probe that cauterizes tissue. Treating unwanted lesions such as; millia, dilated capillaries, cherry angiomas (red/blood spots), sebaceous hyperplasia (overgrowth skin/gland) and skin tags.
How is Diathermy performed?
Diathermy involves the use of high energy current to produce intense heat which destroys the lesion. A fine thin needle is introduced in the lesion to pass the current. The heat produced destroys the tissue of the lesion and the lesion may disappear instantaneously. After the treatment mild swelling and redness may result which will resolve in a few hours. The area is allowed to heal on its own and forms a scab.
When should I avoid Diathermy?
Diathermy treatment gives consistent good results for superficial skin problems but cannot be used if you are:
- Suffer from; Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Blood disorders
- Very sensitive skin.
After Diathermy it is advised to avoid the following:
- Touching the treated area
- Pulling/stretching the treated areaSun exposure
- Extreme temperatures such as cold winds or heat
- and should also protect it from direct exposure to the sun for a few days. Smoking delays the healing process of the body so avoid smoking for a few days.
- Spicy hot foods, excess alcohol, steroid medication, harsh treatment of the area, friction or exfoliation/scrubs
- No picking/removing of scabs
Cold compressed may be applied if required. Redness generally subsides 2-3 hours post treatment. In treatment of veins, they may look as though they have reappeared, this is normal and they will fade and dissolve away.
Treatment may be repeated 4-6 weeks apart if required.
Skin conditions treated by Diathermy:
Telangiectasia (Thread veins, Spider veins)
Telangiectasia – small, dilated blood vessels (red veins) near the surface of the skin. Can sometimes be caused by exposure to harsh conditions such as wind and sun or smoking, washing with hot and cold water, poor skin care, pregnancy certain medication and many other causes. The heat of Diathermy seals off the tiny capillary, resulting in the capillary drying up and disappearing. The treatment is not painful, but may be a little uncomfortable like a tiny sting. The full benefits become visible in about 2-3 weeks. Depending on the number of veins, multiple treatments may be required.
Cherry Angioma (Blood spots)
Cherry angiomas (also known as Campbell De Morgan spots) – consist of clusters of tiny capillaries that form a small, round dome on the skin’s surface. Their occurrence increases with age. Their size varies from less than a millimetre in size up to a centimetre in diameter. Most Cherry Angiomas require a single treatment, with a possible touch up treatment for the larger or more bulbous ones. Treatment involves fine probe Diathermy with a mild current which provides cauterisation of the vessels and coagulation. Treated Cherry angiomas may appear blanched or darkened following treatment. The result is evident within a few days following treatment depending on the size.
Sebaceous Hyperplasia – skin coloured to yellow-white elevations on the skin caused by enlargement of the oil gland (generally found on the forehead). The Pilosebaceous follicle otherwise referred to as pores, have an oil gland (sebaceous gland) attached which is not usually visible as it lies beneath the skin’s surface. When an overgrowth of the Sebaceous gland develops, small bumps become visible around the opening of the pore. Sebaceous Hyperplasia can often be mistaken to be milia and can be easily removed with treatment. Diathermy addresses the problem by cauterising, flattening and removing the papular growths, leaving a smoother, clearer complexion. Mild inflammation and crusting can be expected following treatment. Depending on the number of Seborrheic hyperplasia papules present will determine whether a single treatment is sufficient to remove them or whether several treatment sessions need to be scheduled.
Milia – white, pearly, rounded lumps which occur in the uppermost layer of the skin when sebum (oil produced naturally by the skin) becomes trapped in the blind duct. They are more common on dry skin. Milia can also appear in response to injury to the skin such as sunburn. They are treated by applying the heat energy of diathermy to them. The energy created desiccates the hard fatty tissue, instantly breaking it down and allowing it to disperse into the body through the lymphatic system. 1-2 days following treatment a tiny crust may form which must not be removed but left to drop off. A single session is enough for a small lesion, bigger milia may require a second treatment.
During Diathermy, a fine probe is used to cauterize the lesion requiring removal. That said, Diathermy does not prevent further lesions from developing, particularly in sun-damaged skin. In such cases, maintenance treatments may be required.