Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
Photodynamic Therapy, also known as PDT, with topical LEVULAN solution and BLU-U light exposure is the most advanced treatment for precancerous lesions of the skin called actinic keratoses, or AKs. Dr. Gordon recommends pre-treatment of thick or extensive AKs with liquid nitrogen a few weeks prior to PDT. PDT will treat occult (hidden and about to appear) AKs as well as early and thin AKs. As an added benefit, you will see a marked improvement in any uneven pigmentation and brown spots you may have. The overall appearance of the treated skin will be greatly improved in texture, smoothness and color. The face, scalp, chest, and the arms and hands can all be treated by Dr. Gordon with this advanced procedure. The medical and cosmetic benefits of Photodynamic Therapy are huge!
What should I expect with PDT?
A photosensitizing solution called LEVULAN will be applied to the area by Dr. Gordon to be treated after it is scrubbed with acetone. You will then relax in our Mountain View office for 60 to 90 minutes. The treatment area will then be exposed to BLU-U light for approximately 17 minutes. During light exposure, it is common to experience stinging, burning or tingling sensations which peak within the first 10 minutes and then lessen in intensity. Immediately after treatment, the treated area may be red, swollen and warm. You will then wash the treated area well with Cetaphil cleanser and a soothing cream will be applied (along with a sunblock if the face was treated). You will return home with light protective clothing which you should bring to your appointment.
What do I bring to my PDT appointment?
Remember to bring clothing to shield the treated area from all light. For scalp treatment, bring a densely textured large hat. For facial treatment, bring a face mask or a shawl to wrap around your face and a large floppy hat. For arms and hands, bring a densely textured dark colored long-sleeve shirt and gloves. For the chest, bring a shirt which covers the chest well. Remember, you must protect the treated area with clothing for 48 hours after treatment from ALL VISIBLE LIGHT. This includes sunlight and light from lamps and overhead fixtures. Stay away from windows and avoid driving for this time period when possible. Sunscreen is of benefit, but will not completely protect the treated area.
What happens after treatment?
The treated area will become crusted, scaling, red and inflamed for up to 2 weeks after treatment. You are free to go outdoors after 48 hours, but use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and avoid unnecessary exposure. Brown spots may become darker and then peel off – leaving normal skin over a 7-10 day period.
How do I care for the treated area?
Wash the treated area with Cetaphil or CeraVe cleanser only, and moisturize with Cetaphil or CeraVe cream or Aquaphor or Biafine ointments. Wear a hypoallergenic sunscreen such as Neutrogena Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin SPF 30. Ask our Mountain View staff for available free samples. These can all be purchased at Costco or Walgreens. For the first 48 hours, protect the treated area with clothing from ALL VISIBLE LIGHT including sun, overhead lights and lamps. Please call us with any concerns or questions.
How many treatments will I need?
1-3 treatments are necessary to achieve desirable results. Make a follow-up appointment 4 weeks after your BLU-U treatment for evaluation. Subsequent treatments may call for longer or shorter LEVULAN incubation times depending on your previous reaction and response to treatment.
Does insurance cover the cost of treatment?
Photodynamic Therapy or PDT is insurance approved for the treatment of actinic keratoses.
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