PhotoDynamic Therapy PDT

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a technique used to treat precancerous skin lesions, such as aktinic keratoses, and for some superficial skin carcinomas. Malignant skin cells are made extremely sensitive to visible light and exposed, causing them to die. After a few weeks, these malignant skin cells are replaced by new, healthy skin cells. Photodynamic therapy usually has to be performed several times.

Procedure

  • The doctor removes any excess tumor tissue from your skin.

  • Then a photosensitizing cream (a topical medicine that makes the skin sensitive to light) is applied which is absorbed by the malignant skin cells and converted into a photosensitive substance for red light.

  • The skin is covered with cover foil and a light-resistant cover. The covered area should not be exposed to cold or light.

  • After 3 hours, the remaining cream is removed with a gauze pad and the skin is cleaned.

(A special lamp is used to check whether the spot lights up or fluoresces).

  • The spot is then exposed with visible (usually red) light, which selectively repels the malignant skin cells. To protect the eyes, you will wear glasses during the exposure.

 

Daylight PDT

In some cases, the doctor will decide to perform daylight PDT. The malignant skin cells are also made sensitive to visible light, but the skin is not exposed with a lamp, but simply exposed to daylight outside.

All weather conditions are allowed, except rain and cold temperatures. Daylight PDT is usually performed from March to October.

Daylight exposure may start immediately after applying the cream, or at the latest half an hour later. The patient should be left outdoors in full daylight continuously for 2 hours. It is not recommended to go inside for more than a few minutes during these hours.

Daylight PDT has the advantage of being better tolerated and less painful than classic PDT.

 

Aftercare and complications

Slight pain (up to 24 hours after treatment), redness, crusting, swelling and color changes of the skin may

occur after treatment. PDT 

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