Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

Photodynamic Therapy at the offices of Dr. Donna A. Serure, Dermatology & Cosmetic Laser Surgery, PC

Photodynamic therapy has been used for over a century for various skin conditions.  In recent years, Photodynamic Therapy or PDT for short, has proven to have exciting medical and cosmetic applications as a simple, safe, and non-invasive way to treat problem skin conditions, like; precancerous lesions (actinic keratoses), acne inflammation, and sun damage.   Photodynamic therapy can also help improve the skin’s overall appearance, tone, color, and texture.

How does photodynamic therapy work?

Photodynamic therapy combines a photosensitizing solution (typically a medication in the form of a gel or cream) with a specialized light source to target abnormal skin cells while leaving the surrounding tissue unharmed.  During the procedure, a photosensitizing solution is applied to the treatment area and is preferentially absorbed by targeted tissue, such as actinic keratoses (precancerous lesions) or overactive sebaceous oil glands.  After an incubation period, which typically ranges from 30 minutes to an hour depending on the conditions being treated, the photosensitizing agent is exposed to a specific wavelength of light, which activates the medication and subsequently breaks down the targeted tissue.

What should I expect during photodynamic therapy?

Photodynamic therapy is performed on an outpatient basis in our offices.  After the treatment area is thoroughly cleansed, the photosensitizing solution is applied.  There will be a waiting period for the medication to be absorbed.  This incubation time will vary, depending on the specific conditions being treated, but usually ranges from 30 – 45 minutes up to several hours.  After the prescribed time, the treatment area will be exposed to a red light source, which will activate the medication.  Patients either experience no discomfort or report sensations of warmth and tingling during the procedure.  A cooling fan may be used to ensure patient comfort if needed.

What should I expect after photodynamic therapy?

Your skin will appear red for the first two weeks after the procedure, similar to a moderate or deep sunburn.  Because the photosensitizing agent makes your skin extremely sensitive to light, it is important to avoid direct and prolonged sun exposure during the first 48 hours after treatment.  Patients can resume normal indoor activities immediately following treatment.  Outdoor activities may be resumed after 48 hours, but you should use a sunblock of at least SPF 45 to protect the skin immediately after your treatment.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments will vary according to your condition.  Most patients require only one treatment per area. For patients with severe sun damage and precancerous lesions, yearly photodynamic therapy may be advised.  Your medical providers at Laserderm Dermatology will assess your condition and recommend a treatment schedule that is best suited to your specific needs.

How can I find out more about photodynamic therapy?

Our medical doctors and Physician Assistants will be happy to meet with you to discuss photodynamic therapy. Please call our office at (631) 979-0909, to schedule an appointment for a personal consultation at our Smithtown, Long Island office.