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photodynamic therapy

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

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Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is emerging as a leading solution for superficial skin cancers and pre-cancerous solar keratoses. When compared with other surgical and non-surgical approaches, it is valued for its minimally invasive technique, minimal risk of scarring and pigment changes, and quick recovery.

About PDT (Photodynamic Therapy)

Why photodynamic therapy?

Our dermatologists also use PDT to treat UV-damaged skin for prevention of progression to more aggressive cancers because there is:

  • High rate of effectiveness and cure
  • Less potential for scarring
  • Less down time and faster recovery than with surgery and other treatment options

What does the treatment involve?

Photodynamic Therapy is an outpatient treatment that we perform at Brisbane Skin. Here’s what happens during the two-part treatment:

  • Metvix, a photosensitising chemical in cream form, is applied to the affected area and the surrounding skin in what is known as a “field treatment.” This chemical agent is activated by a specific light wavelength and intensity. After application, you will need to wait between one to three hours for it to be completely absorbed and incubation to occur.
  • When the cream has been fully absorbed, you will be given protective goggles and then undergo a red light treatment for eight minutes. This activates the Metvix incubated malignant cells and begins destroying damaged skin and cancerous cells while relatively sparing the surrounding healthy tissue.

Photodynamic Therapy is effective on a wide range of areas on the body, including the face, hands, scalp, and chest. Beyond its value for treating skin cancers and precancerous changes, patients often also notice a significant improvement in the tone and texture of their skin and an aesthetic benefit.

What to expect after photodynamic therapy?

Generally speaking, patients at Brisbane Skin find PDT treatments easy to tolerate. Many do not require an anaesthetic of any kind, even though it is common to experience a slight burning or stinging sensation during the treatment.

During treatment, a spray of cooling air with our Zimmer Cooler can decrease discomfort or, if necessary, local anaesthetic can be used to alleviate any discomfort. For people with elevated pain sensitivity, taking an analgesic an hour or so before the treatment can serve to calm fears by providing a maximum level of comfort.

When your PDT treatment is complete, you might feel sunburned or even be a little swollen. An over-the-counter painkiller can help with the discomfort. The discomfort should diminish within a day or two, depending on the severity of your cancer and the extent of the treatment itself. Your skin will be red and peeling for about a week.

From start to finish, you will likely be at our offices for up to four hours. Our patients generally require five to seven days of downtime to recover from a full-face treatment. People who are having individual lesions treated can continue on with most activities within 24 hours.