Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) may be right for you if you have sun-damaged skin, actinic keratosis (pre-cancers), acne, rosacea, or several other skin conditions, including some skin cancers. Dr. Herbst is a pioneer in PDT, and has used the procedure for over 17 years. With increasing experience, research and evidence, the role of PDT in the treatment of skin conditions is steadily increasing.
Photodynamic Therapy is a very effective “field treatment” for removing pre-cancers (actinic keratosis), and may be an alternative to surgery for some skin cancers. PDT is especially useful for people that need to have multiple pre-cancers treated at each office visit, in reducing growth of new lesions over time.
PDT is also used for skin rejuvenation because it decreases redness, sun spots and freckles, smooths fine lines and rough skin, and helps improve the skin’s overall appearance. In addition, PDT has the unique ability to minimize pores and reduce oil glands. This means that it has become an important tool in the treatment of acne and rosacea.
During PDT, a medicine called ALA (also known as Levulan and Ameluz) is applied to your affected skin which makes the target cells or glands more sensitive to light. The ALA is then activated by exposure to specific wavelengths of light (blue and red are most common), usually for 5 to 20 minutes, depending on the condition being treated. Sun and bright light exposure must be avoided for up to 48 hours after the treatment.
Dr. Herbst considers PDT a “high patient satisfaction” procedure. And unlike most other field or cosmetic treatments, PDT for sun-related skin damage is usually approved by medical insurance, including Medicare.