Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

What Is Photodynamic Therapy?

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a medical procedure used to treat precancerous lesions, also called “actinic keratoses”, and may also treat early skin cancers. It is typically but not always covered by insurance, and we will give you the information needed to confirm that your specific insurance plan covers this medical procedure.

How Does PDT Work?

Photodynamic therapy uses a topical lotion called Levulan which makes the skin sensitive to the treatment light, also called a “blue light”. After cleansing, the lotion is applied to the skin of the treatment area, and the patient sits for a certain period of time (from 1-2 hours) in our office. After this process, the patient sits under the treatment light for about 15 minutes, and generally experiences a tingling or stinging sensation during the treatment. After the treatment, sunscreen is applied to the treatment area, and the treatment area must be completely protected from the sun for 36-48 hours, or else a severe sunburn-like reaction can occur.

What Should I Expect After This Procedure?

Most people experience mild redness and peeling in the 3-7 days after the procedure, but we customize each treatment based on the level of sun damage that each patient has. Patients are very pleased with the relatively short recovery time and the significant improvement in their sun damage. We offer serial treatments with PDT as needed.