This is used to treat skin cancer, and skin damaged by excessive sun exposure which is at high risk of becoming cancerous. It works by directing a beam of light onto a mole, lesion or affected area of skin which destroys cancerous cells within. It has a lower risk of scarring compared with surgery.
It is used to treat Bowen’s disease, basal cell carcinoma and solar keratosis (pre-cancerous growth). PDT is also unique for its ability to minimize pores and reduce oil glands, effectively treating acne vulgaris, acne rosacea and improve scarring from past acne.
It is also effective in promoting skin rejuvenation; healing sun damaged skin and acne treatment and is increasingly being used by skin cancer doctors and cosmetic physicians.
A light sensitive chemical is applied to the skin followed by the use of a particular wavelength of light which is aimed at the target area. The light causes certain changes within the skin which clears the site of the infection or cancerous growth.
This procedure takes a few hours to complete. Your skin is checked and any scabs or crusts removed.A light-sensitive cream (known as a photosensitizer) is applied to the target area of skin. This is covered with a dressing and left for up to 3 hours which gives it time to be absorbed by the skin. The dressing is then removed and the cream wiped off. The target area of skin is cleaned.
A bright red light is shone onto the target area of skin for 15 to 45 minutes. The treated area is then covered with a dressing which is left in place for 2 days.
After a couple of days you can remove this dressing. Wash the treated area as normal but dry it gently, e.g. pat it dry. A scab will have formed over the treated skin so take care not to dislodge this as this will prevent healing. Do not pick or scratch this either.
Wear a sun cream with a high sun protection factor (SPF) when outside to prevent sunburn. Avoid swimming until otherwise directed.
This treatment is not recommended for pregnant women or anyone suffering from porphyria (a disorder where the skin is extremely sensitive to sunlight).
Your dermatologist will advise if your skin lesion is suitable for PDT and what alternative treatments are available. In general, this treatment is possible for superficial and nodular subtypes of BCC, squamous cell carcinoma in situ (Bowen’s disease) and solar or actinic keratoses.
The actual exposure to the light or laser will generally only take up to a few minutes, but the incubation time with the photosensitising chemical may take an hour or more.
This varies from patient to patient and the location of lesions to be treated. If pain is experienced, it can have a stinging or burning quality. Discomfort can be minimized by taking painkillers such as paracetamol two hours before illumination. If required, the light exposure can be paused (with no adverse effect on the final outcome), so that additional pain relief such as a local anaesthetic can be given.
- Burning/stinging sensation during treatment
- Swelling and redness, crusting , itchiness, peeling and blisters which last one week
- Skin infections
- Scarring is generally minimal (but can be moderate). Loss of pigmentation may occur sometimes and can be permanent
- Healing is usually rapid, as there is relatively small damage to healthy cells
- No scarring has not been reported. As skin heals, it looking smooth and healthy
- There is no systemic reaction. The treatment safe for all skin colours and types and is effective at all ages
- The treatment is able to be customized to your individual needs and can be repeated if needed
- Does not prevent you from undergoing any other cosmetic procedures in the future
The price of photodynamic therapy varies for each person depending on the extent of treatment necessary. Booth Dermatology & Cosmetic Care Center of Indianapolis and Carmel accepts CareCredit® financing options that work with every budget! Please speak to our concierge team for more information.
Dr. Sally A. Booth and her staff will be happy to discuss the details with you. Please feel free to call for a private consultation at one of our offices in Carmel or Indianapolis. Dr. Booth and his staff at Booth Dermatology & Cosmetic Care Center provide personalized care to residents of Indianapolis and Carmel with state-of-the-art technology for optimal health, aesthetics, and patient satisfaction. To receive more information or schedule a consultation, call (317) 848-2427 to speak with our friendly staff.