What Is Wood’s Lamp Examining?
Wood’s lamp examination (WLE) is a diagnostic test used to diagnose various diseases and conditions. The WLE consists of two parts: the first part is performed under general anesthesia while the second part requires a local anesthetic or sedative injection. The WLE involves inserting a small tube into your nostril through which you inhale air before being exposed to the light bulb.
The light bulb emits a bright white light with wavelengths between 380 and 500 nanometers. This wavelength range corresponds to many different types of cells within the human body.
When this particular type of cell is exposed to this specific wavelength, it will produce a certain reaction in the person undergoing the test. If the reaction occurs in one area of the body, then that means there are some underlying problems such as cancer or other disease causing factors present in that area. If the reaction occurs in another area, then that means those same underlying issues may not be present but are instead affecting the functioning of other areas of the body.
In either case, if these tests show abnormalities in any of your organs or systems, they indicate a problem with how your body functions and how well it is able to function. A good example would be heart failure where blood flow to some vital organ(s) is impaired due to damage caused by a blockage or tumor.
While the test has been around for quite some time, it continues to be refined. It is a non-invasive procedure and many patients wake up from the whole process feeling refreshed.
Of course, as with any medical procedure, there are always risks involved so be sure to ask your physician or medical staff about the possible side effects before proceeding.
How Do I Prepare for This Procedure?
There are no specific tests that you need to take or preparations you need to make before undergoing this procedure. Just be sure to tell your physician about any and all medications you are taking or have taken recently. Also make sure that you are in good general health and do not have a cold, the flu, or any other contagious illness.
What Should I Expect During The Procedure?
Before the procedure begins, you will be given medication to put you to sleep. Once asleep, one of the medical staff will gently insert a tube through your nostril and into your throat. Then you will be instructed to breath in and out deeply. The tube is attached to a machine that mechanically emits anesthetic gas and oxygen into your lungs as you inhale and exhale.
When you are fully under, a special probe will be inserted into your throat. It will gently suction out a sample of tissue from your throat lining and then perform the biopsy.
It is not as bad as it sounds and most patients do not even wake up during the procedure.
Once the test is complete, the medical staff will slowly wake you back up again over the course of several minutes to ensure that you do not experience any negative side effects from the anesthetic.
What Happens After The Procedure?
After the procedure you can return back home but be sure to arrange for someone to drive you since you will be groggy for several hours. You should plan on resting for most of the day and eat light meals only until your throat feels better. Since your body went through an anesthetic, it may take a little longer than usual for you to get back in a normal routine. Your throat may also have minor sores; however, it is a good idea to stick to lightly cooked foods and liquids until your physician gives you permission to eat normal food again since anything that requires extra chewing or scraping off the tongue could cause more pain and swelling.
Your medical records will be maintained for at least 30 years, which is the standard in most hospitals. You should feel free to request them at any time during this period.
Is There Anything I Can Do To Prevent This In The Future?
Although this procedure is very safe and the chances of anything going wrong are slim, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances even more.
Maintain a Healthy Weight – Being overweight puts additional pressure on your neck which can lead to more health issues over time, including sleep apnea and increased risk of stroke and heart attack.
Stop Smoking – Nicotine causes reduced blood flow to the neck which can lead to excessive spinal degeneration and irreversible nerve damage.
Get Regular Checkups – Some people wait until they are in a lot of pain before they get preventative treatment. This can be very dangerous since it may allow conditions and diseases to progress too far before treatment can begin.
Get regular checkups with your general physician and have them evaluate your spinal health.
Exercise Regularly – Keeping your muscles strong can help maintain good posture and prevent excess wear and tear on your spine. Certain exercises can also increase blood flow to the region which is important for nourishing spinal tissue.
Sources & references used in this article:
Wood’s lamp by LK Gupta, MK Singhi – Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and …, 2004 – ijdvl.com
Wood’s lamp for superficial chemical peels by SL Matarasso, RG Glogau, AC Markey – Journal of the American Academy …, 1994 – jaad.org
False “highlighting” with Wood’s lamp by JI Silverberg, NB Silverberg – Pediatric dermatology, 2014 – Wiley Online Library
Medical uses of the Wood’s lamp by RM Caplan – Jama, 1967 – jamanetwork.com