What is photodynamic therapy?
Photodynamic therapy (PDT), or “blue light”, is a treatment that uses a drug, called a photosensitizer or photosensitizing agent, and a particular wavelength of light. Each of the different types of photosensitizers are activated by light of a specific wavelength. Thus, we use specific photosensitizers and wavelengths of light to treat different areas of the body with PDT “blue light”.
During the procedure, the medication is placed topically on the affected areas of skin and allowed to incubate for a period of time. During this time any precancerous (some cancerous as well) cells, absorb the chemical, moreso than any of the surrounding normal skin. After that incubation, the photosensitizers are exposed to a specific wavelength of light and they produce a form of oxygen that kills nearby cells that have absorbed the chemical. Damaged or precancerous/cancerous cells aborb the chemical at a much higher concentration, allowing the effects to be focused primarily on the harmful cells that we want to rid you of. Afterward, most people feel and look like they have had a mild sunburn. However, some people experience an effect similar to a severe sunburn. As such, most people are almost back to their normal appearance within a day or two but some people can take up to a week or rarely longer to return to baseline. Rest assured, if you have concerns or are one of the people who have a brisk reaction, we are fully comfortable and trained to improve the symptoms as quickly as possible.
This is an excellent tool that we use to achieve our overall goal of skin cancer prevention.