Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
Photodynamic therapy is a three-step treatment used for mild or serious conditions of the skin. Known colloquially as PDT, the treatment uses a photosensitizing drug and a light source. Photodynamic therapy destroys abnormal cells that cause actinic keratosis, a pre-cancerous condition.
How Does PDT Therapy Work?
During a PDT procedure, your dermatologist will apply a topical photo sensitizer, called Levulan, to the skin. The substance is then left for an incubation period, which can last either a few minutes or several days, depending on the part of the body and condition being treated. Levulan is made of aminolaevulinic acid (ALA), a natural substance found in the body.
After the allotted incubation period, the dermatologist will activate the Levulan with a wavelength light source. You may feel a slight tingling or warmth, and sometimes a fan is used to cool the treated area.
What to Expect During PDT Treatment
Patients may experience sensations of warmth, tingling, heat or burning during this part of the treatment. After light activation, the treated area is washed, and patients can return home. Most return to work within one to two days of the procedure. Rarely, patients may experience a slightly prolonged healing course, but this is typically less than 7-10 days. Photodynamic treatment patients may also have individual personal concerns about what this treatment involves and what it may mean for any other number of health issues. Though generally considered a non-invasive treatment option, if you have these types of concerns about photodynamic therapy, schedule a consultation with your dermatologist. They will be able to tell you about how this specific treatment may work for your skin condition.
Common Photodynamic Therapy Side Effects
For optimal results, PDT therapy patients may need up to five treatment sessions, depending on the severity of their condition and the aggressiveness of their treatment. Sessions are spaced two to five weeks apart and can be continued afterwards to maintain the initial results of the treatment.
Although PDT is considered a safe treatment option, there are certain risks and side effects associated with any medical procedure. This treatment may cause redness, pigmentation, bruising, infection, and scarring. That said, these side effects are usually mild and go away on their own within a few weeks.
How to Schedule a Photodynamic Therapy Appointment
While photodynamic therapy has been around for about a century, the last few decades have seen massive improvements to the procedure. Recent research and technology have allowed for the rigorous application of treatment protocols. With better and earlier detection of many different skin conditions, this type of non-invasive and early-intervention treatment is the best available option for an increasing number of patients.
Many people in southern Illinois can benefit from this treatment to remove troubling pre-cancerous growths and other skin conditions that may respond well to localized treatment. If you’re interested in learning about how PDT therapy treatment can help your condition, contact us to schedule an appointment. can be dealt with through localized treatment. We can assess your condition, tell you more about the procedure, and recommend personalized treatment options.