Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment that uses photosensitising agents and light to target cancer cells. It can be used to treat some skin and eye conditions. There are different types of photodynamic therapy:

  • Metvix is a product which uses a cream and a very narrow focussed light (Aktilite).
  • 5-ALA PDT which has a similar spray or cream applied for a period of time then the area is illuminated.
  • Phototherapy alone which uses a light source without the above photo sensitisers.

In all cases your doctor will tell you to avoid bright lights and sunlight for 2 days post procedure, you will be provided with and instructed to wear protective clothing and hats to help protect your skin during this time.

How much improvement can I expect?

Patient with mild to severe sun damaged skin with sun spots, texture and tone changes including mottled pigmentation and skin laxity may see excellent results. You may also see improvement of large pores and pitted acne scars. Your doctor will discuss this with you.

How many treatments will I need to see the best results?

To achieve Maximum improvement of pre cancerous areas (actinic Keratosis); mildly damaged skin may require one to two treatments whereas moderately to severely damaged skin may require up to three treatments. Your doctor will discuss this with you.

Advantage of PDT

  • Non invasive- no needles or surgery needed.
  • Easier and less painful than topical liquid nitrogen, Efudix or Aldara.
  • Side effects are minimal.
  • Reduced scarring risk
  • Improved cosmetic outcome compared with electrocautery, sugery or Efudix.
  • PDT improves the whole area treated creating a more uniform colour, texture and tone; rather then just treating with liquid nitrogen, electrocautery or surgery.
  • PDT is a short term vs. long term treatment option