Photodynamic Therapy

Actinic keratoses (AKs) are rough-textured, dry, scaly patches on the skin that can lead to skin cancer. It is important to treat AKs because there is no way to tell when or which lesions will progress to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the second most common form of skin cancer.

Aminolevulinic Acid and Photodynamic light, a 2-part treatment, is unique because it uses a light activated drug therapy to destroy AKs.

How does it work?

Aminolevulinic Acid Topical Solution is applied to the AK. The solution is then absorbed by the AK cells where it is converted to a chemical that makes the cells extremely sensitive to light. When the AK cells are exposed to the Photodynamic light Illuminator, a reaction occurs which destroys the AK cells.

Treatment Step 1:  Application of Aminolevulinic Topical Solution

  • Aminolevulinic solution will be uniformly applied to your AK lesions.
  • Your physician will direct you to wait the recommended time in order to allow the solution to penetrate the targeted cells. Then you will return for the second part of your treatment which includes illuminating your treated lesions with the Photodynamic light.
  • You should not wash your face in between treatment steps.
  • Avoid exposing the treated lesions to sunlight and other forms of bright light for at least 40 hours. Examples include exam room examination lights, operating room lamps, tanning bed lights, and household lights at close range. Sunscreens will not protect against photosensitivity reactions caused by visible light during this time. Remember to wear light protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat, during this time.

Treatment Step 2:  Photodynamic Light Treatment

  • Before your Photodynamic light treatment, gently rinse and pat dry the treated area.
  • Your treatment with the Photodynamic light will take approximately 17 minutes.
  • Protective eye-wear should be worn during your Photodynamic light treatment.
  • You may experience stinging or burning during your Photodynamic light treatment, but this should subside between 1 minute and 24 hours after the Photodynamic light is turned off.

After Treatment

  • You may apply moisturizers as needed.
  • The most common side effects are:
    • Burning/stinging, which could be severe, may last up to 24 hours after your Photodynamic light treatment
    • Redness and swelling which may last up to 4 weeks after your Photodynamic lighttreatment
    • Scaling/crusting which may last up to 4 weeks after your Photodynamic light treatment

Patient Treatment Documents

Photodynamic Therapy Treatment Paperwork
Please download and view the Photodynamic therapy Consent Form, pre-visit instructions, and post-care instructions ahead of your visit.

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