Photodynamic Therapy For Actinic Keratoses and Skin Cancer

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) for actinic keratoses and skin cancers in New Jersey

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is often used to treat actinic keratoses, but is also sometimes used for some forms of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

PDT for actinic keratoses and skin cancer

In the photodynamic therapy procedure, a medication, either Levulan or Ameluz, is applied to the area to be treated, often to the full face, scalp or arms in the case of actinic keratoses, or to specific lesions for skin cancer. It is usually left on, or incubated, for 90 minutes. Sometimes the lesions are curreted first. The medication accumulates in  cancerous and pre-cancerous cells. After incubating on the skin, the Levulan or Ameluz is activated with a light source. At SOMA Skin & Laser we use the  Blu-U blue light. The resulting damage to the pre-cancerous or cancerous cells causes their destruction, and results in a decreased risk of future actinic keratoses and skin cancer. In most patients, a reaction occurs with redness, swelling, crusting, and sometimes erosions. This is considered necessary to clear these lesions.

Is photodynamic therapy for actinic keratoses and skin cancer covered by insurance?

The use of phototodynamic therapy for the treatment of skin cancers and pre-cancers is typically covered by insurance.

What To Expect During and after photodynamic therapy

During photodynamic therapy you will feel a stinging or burning sensation. After the procedure, you should avoid sun exposure for several days, as severe reactions are possible. After PDT for actinic keratoses and skin cancer, erythema (redness) and edema (swelling) often occur, followed by peeling. There can be a burning feeling, pain, crusting, and blister formation. Hyperpigmentation (dark marks) is sometimes seen after PDT, usually resolving over several months. Hypopigmentation (light marks) has also been reported.

**Results may vary patient to patient. There is no guarantee that any specific result can be achieved.
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