Photodynamic therapy is a non-invasive way to improve the symptoms of some skin conditions and cancers without surgery or extensive downtime.
At RidgeView Dermatology, we’re committed to providing our patients with a broad range of dermatologic treatments that can improve the appearance and health of their skin. For more information about our practice or any of the diverse services we offer, contact us today!
What is Photodynamic Therapy?
Photodynamic therapy, or PDT, is a non-invasive treatment used to combat certain cases of non-melanoma skin cancer, as well as actinic keratoses on the face and scalp. It can also be used to improve psoriasis symptoms. This therapy uses light of a particular wavelength and an injectable or topical photosensitizing agent to destroy skin cancer cells and improve skin health. At RidgeView Dermatology, we’re proud to exclusively use the Blu-U Light therapy system. This system is one of the most cutting-edge machines available for photodynamic therapy today.
How it Works
Before treatment begins, a photosensitizing agent is administered to the patient. This agent is either injected or applied topically to the treatment area. Once this agent has been properly absorbed, a special wavelength of light is shone onto the areas affected by cancerous cells. This light activates the photosensitizing agent, causing it to eliminate cancerous cells and other harmful skin growths in the area. The entire duration of the treatment process takes between 5-45 minutes to complete depending on the size of the affected area. After treatment, most patients experience a slight reaction in the treatment area similar to a sunburn. This typically fades within 4-8 weeks of receiving treatment.
Benefits of PDT
Unlike many other basal and squamous cell carcinoma treatment options, photodynamic therapy is completely non-invasive and generally well-tolerated. While surgical and radiation treatments have a higher chance of success, photodynamic therapy features less harmful side effects. It involves no scarring and does not bring the same widespread destruction of healthy tissue as radiation therapy.
Downsides of PDT
While there a number of benefits to undergoing photodynamic therapy, this treatment, unfortunately, has some downsides. The light used in photodynamic therapy can only penetrate one centimeter into the skin, so it can not be used to treat deeper, more progressive cases of basal or squamous cell carcinoma. It is also less effective in treating large areas affected by skin cancer because it can only hone in on one small, specific area of skin at a time.
Photodynamic therapy can be an excellent treatment option for some patients suffering from psoriasis, actinic keratosis, basal cell carcinoma, or squamous cell carcinoma. If you’d like more information about Blu-U photodynamic therapy or would like to get started with a consultation appointment, contact RidgeView Dermatology today.