Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) targets cancerous and pre-cancerous cells using a combination of a cream that makes cancer cells sensitive to light and exposure to light of particular wavelengths. It is an effective treatment for certain subtypes of skin cancers and pre-cancers such as actinic keratosis.
PDT is an alternative to surgery in some cases and can be used to treat more than one lesion at the same time and is commonly used to treat a field of sun damaged skin, e.g. full face, décolletage, scalp, forearms or hands. PDT has been shown to be fast and very effective in treating sun damaged skin.
PDT is also very effective in bringing new life to aged skin in areas that in the past have been hard to treat such as the décolletage, arms, scalp, hands and legs.
At 4D Skin Clinic, we are experts in diagnosing and treating skin cancer for residents of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Central Coast and Hunter Regions. We take pride in ensuring your skin is as healthy as possible.
What does the treatment involve?
Two weeks before treatment, you will be required to use a range of medical grade skin care products to prepare the skin for treatment, this will ensure you get the best results possible. Your nurse will discuss how to use these products.
On the day of treatment, a photo active substance (made naturally by the human body) is applied to the affected area (e.g. face, arms, scalp etc.). When applied to the skin, this substance is absorbed into abnormal or damaged cells. This solution is left on for the designated incubation period and once absorbed, a light source is focused on the treated area for a period of time.
When exposed to light, the abnormal skin cells are destroyed to reveal new, fresh, healthy skin cells. The treatment can result in a varying level of discomfort and heat, your treating nurse will be there with you through the duration of the treatment while you are under the light and use cooling to reduce any discomfort.
How long will the procedure take?
Because this procedure requires incubation time of the activating agent, it is best to take a full day off for this treatment as you will be in the clinic for a few hours. It is a good idea to bring a snack and a book while you wait for the activating solution to work. You will generally only be under the PDT treatment light for about 20 minutes.
What to expect after treatment?
After the treatment your skin will feel quite hot and can be pink and swollen. You will be extremely sensitive to light for the first few days and you will need to stay indoors as much as possible.
Day 3 – 5 the treated skin will be red and tender and may peel, scab and flake off. This is a normal result and means the treatment has worked by destroying damaged skin cells.
Day 6 – 9 redness starts to disappear. Skin may still feel itchy, tight or uncomfortable but is starting to heal.
Day 10 – 14 healed, healthy, smooth, clear skin will be revealed. You will be given a range of post care products and your nurse will discuss how to care for your skin after the treatment.
What areas can be treated?
Most areas of the body can be treated with PDT.
What is the best time to have PDT?
You can have PDT any time of year but some patients prefer to have this treatment in the cooler months as your skin does generally feel quite hot during and immediately post treatment.
How many treatments will give me an optimal result?
You can generally expect quite a good result with just one PDT treatment however your treating doctor will discuss with you if they anticipate you may need a more intensive course of treatments.
Is there any maintenance required?
There is no maintenance treatment required however, some people do have repeat treatments over time as new sun damage surfaces. To prolong the results of your treatment and enhance your skin health, wearing SPF and using cosmeceutical grade skin care is recommended. Taking a supplement called Nicotinamide can also assist in keeping the skin healthy.
How much does PDT cost?
Cost of PDT depends on the area treated and number of sessions required. PDT is not covered under Medicare however some private health insurance companies provide a rebate for this treatment.
Our clinic will be able to arrange a personalised quote for you prior to your treatment.