Photodynamic therapy (PDT) combines the use of a photosensitizing agent applied to the skin with exposure to a light source. This combination creates a chemical reaction that helps to destroy selective skin cells. It is an effective treatment for concerns such as:
- Actinic keratosis (pre-cancerous lesions common in sun-damaged skin)
- Pigmented lesions often seen in aging skin
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PHOTODYNAMIC THERAPY
How does photodynamic therapy work?
A photosensitizing agent is applied to the skin for a period of time and is then activated by a light source and causes a chemical reaction in the skin. The chemical reaction helps to destroy selective cells.
Is the procedure painful?
No, PDT is not painful. Sometimes the skin may feel warm or you may experience some tingling or slight itching during the treatment.
How long does a treatment take?
About up to two hours, including application of the photosensitizer; incubation from ½ hour to an hour or longer, and light exposure of 16 – 25 minutes.
How many treatments will be required?
Up to three treatments may be required, depending on the extent of the lesions, with an interval of four weeks between treatments.
Are there side effects?
Light sensitivity usually lasts up to 24 hours and all sun exposure should be avoided for that period of time. Patients are instructed to bring a scarf and/or hat to protect the skin after leaving the clinic. Redness is normal for several days, followed by dryness and flaking of the skin within one week of the treatment. Post-treatment protocols should be followed to minimize side effects.