Photodynamic Therapy

What is photodynamic therapy?

Photodynamic therapy combines the topical application of a medication that is selectively absorbed by certain cells, and then use of a light (red or blue) to activate the medication and selectively destroy these cells.

What conditions can be treated with photodynamic therapy?

Actinic keratosis, which are precancerous lesions, superficial basal cell carcinoma, and Bowen’s disease or squamous cell carcinoma in situ are the most commonly treated lesions.

Photodynamic therapy can also be used to treat acne that is non-responsive to topical and oral medications.  A series of treatments are typically done alternating between red and blue light.

What happens following treatment?

Areas with precancerous or cancerous cells will become red and inflamed and then turn scaly or crusty. The skin normalizes over the next 1-3 weeks. When treating acne, the skin will become red with slight swelling that lasts about 1-4 days.


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