Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) Levulan® BLU-U®
Light Treatment

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) involves the use of specific drugs that get activated by light. It is designed to eliminate superficial
skin cancers (actinic keratoses) and some types of skin cancer cells. PDT is commonly known as blue light therapy.
During the initial consultation, the dermatologist will address all questions of the patient about PDT and help them make a salient and suitable choice.

The dermatology team will carefully determine the patient’s candidacy before recommending them PDT for actinic keratosis and certain types of skin cancer.

 

Are There Any Advantages of Treating Actinic Keratoses with PDT?

A key advantage of PDT is that it treats only a specific, affected area of skin. Apart from treating the actinic keratosis, it also improves tone, texture and appearance of skin. Its side effects are milder, and get resolved quickly. PDT is more effective on patients having multiple skin lesions.

PDT is ideally suited for patients who do not wish to undergo a longer or more aggressive treatment. Certain treatments can cause severe side effects. PDT has only mild and temporary side effects, and produces superior results.

 

Am I a Fine Candidate for PDT?

People with lighter skin usually make good candidates for PDT. People with darker skin, or those who are prone to discoloration due to certain lights, may have to avoid it. People who are unable to stay out of sunlight may not be good candidates.

 

For What Is PDT Not Suited? 

As the drugs used are unable to penetrate deep into the skin, PDT is not effective for thick actinic keratoses.

 

What Side Effects Are Associated with PDT?

The procedure makes use of blue light, which may cause some patients to experience reddening of the skin. However, most patients will have no notable reaction to it.

Other possible side effects include discoloration, prominently emerging blood vessels, pain, infection, blisters, scabs, scars, allergic reactions and prolonged sun sensitivity. Anesthesia used during the procedure comes with its share of side effects.

 

Does PDT Cause Scarring? 

PDT will usually not lead to any scarring. But the patient could experience temporary redness, discoloration or irritation.

 

Are There Any Alternatives to PDT? 

Some of the alternatives include freezing (cryotherapy or cryosurgery), burning, chemical peels, cream, local destruction by curettage, and desiccation (scrape and burn) technique. These can be used to treat actinic keratosis. Alternative treatments for acne include oral isotretinoin, oral antibiotics, topical washes, acne facials, and creams.

 

How Much Downtime Is Involved Post-PDT?

If the patient avoids sunlight for a few days after the procedure, recovery is quite fast. There is no restriction in activity or
movement indoors.

 

What Does Post-Operative Care After PDT Consist Of? 

Side effects such as redness or swelling can be reduced by using ice bags on the skin for about 15 minutes every hour on the first day. It may also help to sleep propped up on pillows or in a reclining chair for the first one or two days.