Phototherapy for Jaundice in Newborns
In the standard form of phototherapy, the baby is placed in an enclosed plastic crib (incubator) and is exposed to a type of fluorescent light that is absorbed by the baby's skin. During this process, the bilirubin in the baby's body is changed into another form that can be more easily excreted in the stool and urine.
A baby with jaundice may need to stay under a phototherapy light for several days. Phototherapy usually does not damage a baby's skin.
During this type of phototherapy:
Potential problems that may occur during this standard form of phototherapy include:
Another type of phototherapy is a fiber-optic blanket or a band. These devices wrap around a baby and can be used at home. Although fiber-optic phototherapy has been shown to reduce bilirubin levels, it takes longer than conventional phototherapy done in a hospital setting. It can be a good alternative for babies with mild jaundice who are otherwise healthy.1
If your baby is being treated at home for jaundice, it is important that you understand how to use all the equipment. Ask your health professional for help if you have questions or concerns. A home health nurse may visit to make sure all is going well. The amount of bilirubin in your baby's blood may need to be measured daily.
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