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Phototherapy is the most common treatment for reducing
bilirubin levels that cause
jaundice in a newborn.
In the standard
form of phototherapy, your baby lies in a bassinet or enclosed plastic crib
(incubator) and is exposed to a type of fluorescent light that is absorbed by
your 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
A baby with jaundice may need to stay under a phototherapy
light for several days. Phototherapy doesn't damage a baby's
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
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.
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Chuck Norlin, MD - Pediatrics
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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