Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

Photodynamic therapy combines photosensitizing agents with a certain type of light that activates them.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

Photodynamic therapy is a procedure involving the application of a light-sensitizing medication (i.e. Levulan), followed by exposure to a light source that “activates” the medication.

With the procedure, a thin layer of a light-sensitizing medication is applied. Depending on the condition being treated, the medication is allowed to absorb in the skin for typically 60 minutes. Following the absorption period, the entire area is treated with a light device. Protective eyewear is provided. There is some minor discomfort during the treatment. After the procedure, the treated area is gently cleaned, and moisturizer and sunscreen are applied. Although it has been removed from the skin, the medication will remain active for 48 hours.

What Equipment is Used?

  • PhotoMedex Omnilux™ (Blue LED) 

Pre-Treatment Instructions

  • Avoid sun exposure one month before and after treatment.
  • Avoid self-tanner for two weeks prior to treatment. 
  • Stop retinoids and Melatonik five to seven days prior to treatment, unless instructed otherwise by your provider. 
  • If taking a medication that is photosensitizing (i.e. NSAIDs including ibuprofen, HCTZ, Oracea, minocycline, doxycycline, Monodox, etc.), stop the medication three days prior to the treatment to prevent adverse side effects. Such medications can be restarted 48 hours after the treatment. 
  • If you have a history of cold sores, please let us know before the day of the procedure so that a medication can be given for you to take. 
  • Please advise your provider if you have had a previous sensitivity to sun or a history of Lupus. PDT treatment may not be advised for some patients with these conditions.

Post-Treatment Instructions

Click below for full post-treatment instructions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Will I Be Like Afterwards? 

Immediate redness, discomfort and swelling can be expected and will intensify in the 24-48 hours following treatment. The overall downtime of the treatment varies based on the treated indication. The downtime may last anywhere from 2-10 days and may involve mild redness and flaking to moderate or severe redness, peeling and scabbing. During this time, Tylenol may be helpful, and ice packs intermittently applied to reduce discomfort. Sun exposure after a treatment must be carefully avoided as it may result in a more severe burn with redness. 

  • What Results Can I Expect? 

You can expect a decrease in the number of lesions in the treatment area. The number of treatments required to reach the desired or optimal result varies based on the treated Indication and severity of the condition. Results are seen in the month following each treatment. Your provider will evaluate you to see if the condition has improved or if more treatments are needed.  

  • How Many Treatments Are Necessary? 

The number of treatments required to reach the desired or optimal result varies based on the treated indication and severity of the condition. Some conditions may only require one treatment while others may require multiple treatments. Maintenance treatments are then recommended as needed.  

  • Who Cannot Have the Treatment?  

Photodynamic therapy is not safe in darker skin types or tan skin. Patients who have taken isotretinoin (Accutane) within the previous 12 months or are currently pregnant cannot have the treatment. 

To learn more about our photodynamic therapy options, call or schedule online today!

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