Cincinnati Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
Prevent and treat the formation of pre-cancers and treat resistant acne.
Many patients with Actinic Keratoses find this in-office procedure preferable to, and more time-efficient than, the home-applied topical creams.
A few treatment sessions can usually significantly reduce or clear a large area of pre-cancers or resistant acne.
- Prevent & treat pre-cancers
- More even skin tone
- Reduction of acne
What to Expect
Your nurse will take photos and wash and clean your skin prior to applying a photosensitizing solution called Levulan. After application, it is imperative that you avoid sun exposure for 24 hours. For your protection, we encourage you to wait in the office while the medication incubates for 2 ½-3 hours. If you choose to leave during this period you must wear full sun protection.
During your treatment, you will sit under a Blu-light with eye protection for up to 16 minutes. PDT causes a mild to moderate heating sensation during treatment which is alleviated with a cold air chiller.
After the treatment, mild to severe redness, swelling and scabbing may occur. These effects depend on how much sun damage or cystic lesions are present and how long the Levulan solution was left on. The worst cases heal like a severe sunburn over a few days.
How does photodynamic therapy work?
Photodynamic therapy (PDT), is a form of phototherapy using light and a photosensitizing topical chemical substance. When photo-sensitizers are exposed to a specific wavelength of light, including sunlight, a photosensitive reaction occurs treating both oil glands and precancerous cells.
How long will my appointment take?
This will depend on what area we are treating, but most appointments will be about 2 ½-3 hours. You can wait in the office while the medication incubates, or, if you prefer to leave and come back, you must protect the treated area from any sun exposure. Sun exposure will cause a phototoxic reaction that will take longer to heal.
PDT can cause mild to moderate pain during treatments. It is important for patients to avoid all bright light sources (including going outdoors, proximity to windows or skylights or even exposure to bright indoor lights) for 48 hours after treatment.
Does photodynamic therapy hurt?
PDT can cause mild to moderate pain during treatments.
What results can I expect?
After each PDT session, you will experience some improvement in skin tone and texture. There will be a decrease in overall redness and flushing. Pre-cancers and sunspots will fade; pore sizes will shrink. Fine lines and wrinkles can gradually decrease in size as the new collagen forms beneath the skin. These improvements will continue to increase with each treatment.
What is the recovery and downtime?
After the treatment, mild to severe redness, blistering and scabbing can occur. These effects depend on how long the ALA solution is left on, how much light is used, and which light source is used to activate the ALA. The worst cases heal like a severe sunburn over a few days.
It is important for patients to avoid all bright light sources (including going outdoors, proximity to windows or skylights or even exposure to bright indoor lights) for 48 hours after treatment. Otherwise, you may resume normal activities immediately. After treatment, there may also be some discomfort. The skin may appear flushed, brown spots may be darker and tiny veins may be more visible. This will usually diminish over the next couple of days.
Am I a candidate?
PDT may be right for you if you have pre-cancers (Actinic Keratoses). We can also use PDT to treat resistant acne for people who do not want to use accutane or are resistant to traditional therapies. It is best to schedule a consultation to learn more, as treatment regimens vary from patient to patient depending on the condition being treated.
Mona Dermatology feels different because we are different. From our calming, inviting office space, to dermatologists and medical practitioners who are as credentialed as they are kind, there’s so much that sets us apart.
- Dr. Mona Foad named Cincinnati Magazine Top Doctor every year since 2008
- 4.7 average Google rating with 250+ five-star reviews from patients.
- Our providers are extensively and continually trained in the latest advances in medical and cosmetic dermatology.
- We specialize in helping our patients achieve a natural, refreshed look.
- Your goals are our goals. Each patient’s treatment plan is unique.