Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a two-stage treatment that combines light energy with a medication that is activated by a specific wavelength of light (a photosensitizer) to destroy precancerous cells.
Photodynamic therapy is used to treat premalignant conditions like actinic keratoses. Benefits of the procedure include:
- No long-term side effects.
- Minimally invasive.
- Can be administered in a doctor's office.
- Can be administered multiple times to the same treatment area.
- Improved skin appearance, tone, color and texture.
The procedure requires three steps: application, incubation and light activation. First the drug is applied to the skin in the treatment areas as a cream and allowed the dry. Incubation is the time which allows the medication to be taken up by the abnormal or precancerous cells, usually 90 minutes. The skin is then exposed to a special blue light source. The light activates the photosensitizing agent, which helps destroy the precancerous cells. You may feel tingling, warmth, or a burning sensation during treatment, which lasts about 15 minutes. Sometimes a fan is used to cool the skin. The treated area is then cleaned and sunscreen applied.
Most patients experience some dryness and a sunburn-like reaction for several days after treatment. It is very important to avoid direct sunlight for 24-48 hours to prevent the reaction from being stronger than necessary. Most people can resume normal activities within 1-2 days after treatment.
Information from asds.net