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Photodynamic Therapy

Why Consider Photodynamic Therapy

A PDT treatment, short for Photodynamic Therapy procedure is intended to reduce the chances of light and dark skin spots from emerging, while subsequently smoothing the skin and balancing its overall tone and color. It is a relatively quick and easy procedure, involving minimal recovery time but serving as a greatly effective solution for patients with significant sun damage.

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PDT is most highly recommended for patients with sun damage skin that is not particularly sensitive, and for those who are candidates for acne treatment and anti-aging techniques. Finally, Photodynamic Therapy is a viable option for patients with superficial types of skin cancer, as a possible solution and treatment for actinic keratosis and basal cell carcinomas.

Indications for Photodynamic Therapy

Candidates for Photodynamic Therapy will be carefully and efficiently evaluated at our office, conveniently located IN central Tucson, AZ, or at our Green Valley location. Per the FDA and DUSA, PDT is used for the treatment of actinic keratoses on the scalp and face only, to treat Bowen’s disease, and as a way to manage one of the most common skin cancers- basal cell carcinoma.

Photodynamic Therapy is most effective for patients in the earlier stages of cancer, as it has the ability to fully eliminate affected, cancerous cells. Patients with a more developed form of skin cancer are advised to use Photodynamic Therapy in conjunction with other therapies to most effectively shrink the size of the cancerous tumor. Because scarring generally does not occur from PDT, affected organs remain largely intact and affected skin tissue is able to be most precisely targeted.

How it Works

Photodynamic Therapy is unique as it uses a calculated amount of light, oxygen, and photosensitizing agents to generate a photochemical reaction, precisely and effectively destroying and killing cancerous cells. Its use can be administered topically, systemically, or as a direct injection into the organ. We will inject the photo reactive chemicals to the affected regions, and a light of pre-determined strength will then be employed to activate the reaction, essentially leading the chemicals to exterminate relevant cancerous cells.

Results of the PDT

The effectiveness of PDT and the amount of required treatment varies on a patient-to-patient basis. Generally, however, the treatment is able to immediately and efficiently reduce the amount of sun-related damage to the skin, improve skin with visible acne and acne scars, and is capable to dramatically eliminate certain skin cancers. Redness of the skin is typical in the first week after treatment, depending most substantially on the patient’s skin sensitivity.

A Photodynamic Therapy procedure lasts an average of 1.5 to 2.5 hours in office and we will assess the number of required treatments on an individual level, in accordance to reaction, effectiveness, and seriousness of the original condition. It is recommended that patients remain indoors and avoid sunlight for the first two days after receiving Photodynamic Therapy.

Recovery After Photodynamic Therapy

Following treatment, the affected skin will have an increased sensitivity to light. It is recommended that patients cover the affected skin for the first day and a half following treatment, in order to avoid complications caused by daylight or indoor lighting. Patients will be able to resume their average level of daily, indoor activity immediately after treatment and can return to work within two days of undergoing Photodynamic Therapy.

After the initial 36 hours, a patient can resume their normal bathing habits, but are still recommended to exercise caution and be gentle with affected areas until they are more fully healed. A scab will form on the treated skin following the treatment but will subside within three weeks, after which time the effectiveness of the procedure will be able to be more accurately evaluated.

Possible Side Effects

Possible side effects of PDT include:

  • Sunburn caused by exposure to sunlight following treatment- it is generally recommended to avoid remaining outdoors for an extended period of time.
  • Redness of the skin around the affected areas.
  • Minor skin discoloration.
  • Pain or infection at the site of treatment.
  • Blisters, scabbing, or formation of cold-sores.
  • Visibility of small blood vessels.

We will be there every step of the way to answer all related questions and concerns, and will work with you to ensure that these side effects are largely avoided to the best of her ability. Contact us today!

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