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Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic Therapy

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Photodynamic Therapy, or PDT is used at Ancaster Dermatology Centre as a non-invasive method of treating both medical and cosmetic skin conditions such as Acne, Actinic Keratosis and Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma. The combination of a topical light-sensitive medication activated with Red Light or Intense Pulsed Light, and now daylight exposure can be used to selectively destroy undesirable tissue. This allows the skin to rejuvenate without the lesion, calm inflammation and reduce sebaceous oil production.

Would you like to learn more about Photodynamic Therapy? Please call Ancaster Dermatology Centre in Hamilton, Ontario, at (905) 304-1122.

Is Photodynamic Therapy Right for Your Skin?

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) has been available for close to thirty years, and when used appropriately has been found to be safe and effective. In recent years it has become an increasing useful procedure as the medication incubation time necessary before light exposure has been dramatically reduced. The chemical/light process produces an active oxygen molecule that destroys the targeted cells. Because the procedure only works as deeply as the light is able to penetrate the skin, PDT is used only to treat conditions or lesions where target areas are close to the surface. The treatment is appropriate for patients with light or medium-colored skin.  Those with dark or tanned skin or those who are prone to keloid formation would not be good candidates for PDT.

Dr. Wismer may recommend Photodynamic Therapy for conditions such as:

  1. Brown or age spots
  2. Rosacea- redness and flushing
  3. Acne and acne scars
  4. Actinic Keratosis
  5. Basal Cell Carcinoma

The Photodynamic Therapy Experience at Ancaster Dermatology

Photodynamic Therapy in dermatological practice relies on the activation of a topical cream – either Levulan, formulated with 20% aminolevulenic acid (ALA), or Metvix (methyl aminolevulante or MAL) by the light used during the latter part of the treatment. Your visit begins with skin cleansing and an application of Levulan or Metvix. Lesions may require some prior preparation. Once your practitioner applies medication to the treatment area you wait  1-4  hours while it absorbs into your skin. Once your skin is ready, the light portion of the treatment commences. Depending on your specific concerns, we may use intense pulsed light (IPL)  or Red Light.  You will wear protective eyewear as your practitioner guides the handpiece over your skin or with Red Light places a lamp over the treatment area for approximately nine minutes   During this time you will experience a some heat, reduced with cold packs as necessary. Our new protocol of Daylight-PDT for Actinic Keratosis has simplified and revolutionized the treatment of precancerous lesions in skin that has been chronically sun damaged.  Our nurse cleanses the skin, applies sunscreen and debrides the area of concern.  She then applies a thin layer of Metvix.  After a 30 minute incubation period the patient then has the area exposed to daylight for two hours. This allows the red light from our visible light spectrum to activate the Metvix and target the sun damaged tissue.  Patients can expect redness and crusting that heals within 7 days achieving an excellent clearance of Actinic Keratosis and wonderful cosmetic result. With any form of PDT, patients should avoid sun exposure for 48 hours after treatment. Most patients will experience side effects similar to those of a mild sunburn for between 2 and 5 days after treatment. It's important to keep skin clean and well protected from the sun as it heals. The exact number and schedule of treatments depends on your particular condition. On-going protection from the sun is critical to avoid future photo aging damage to your skin.

Before & After Photodynamic Therapy

Before Photodynamic Therapy

After Photodynamic Therapy

Before Photodynamic Therapy

After Photodynamic Therapy