Photodynamic light therapy, often referred to as photodynamic therapy (PDT), is a medical treatment that uses a combination of a photosensitizing agent and specific wavelengths of light to treat various medical conditions. It is commonly used in the treatment of certain types of cancer, skin conditions, and other medical ailments. Thomas Dermatology has multiple providers that specialize in PDT out of their Henderson, Nevada office location. Call the nearest office or book an appointment online today!
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is used to treat various skin conditions, particularly those that involve abnormal or damaged skin cells. The advantages of photodynamic therapy include its minimally invasive nature, reduced side effects compared to some other treatments, and its ability to target specific areas. However, it may require multiple sessions, and patients often need to avoid direct sunlight or bright light for some time after treatment due to photosensitivity caused by the photosensitizing agent.
Some of the skin conditions that can be treated with PDT include:
Actinic Keratosis (AK): PDT is commonly used to treat actinic keratosis, which are precancerous skin lesions caused by sun damage. PDT can help remove these lesions before they potentially develop into skin cancer.
Acne: PDT can be effective in treating acne, especially when other treatments have not been successful. It targets the sebaceous glands in the skin and can help reduce inflammation and the production of oil.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): In some cases, PDT may be used to treat superficial basal cell carcinoma, a common form of skin cancer. It is typically used for smaller, less aggressive lesions.
Bowen's Disease (Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Situ): PDT may be an option for treating Bowen's disease, which is a type of squamous cell carcinoma in situ. It is a precancerous condition characterized by abnormal skin cells.
Psoriasis: PDT can be used to treat psoriasis, a chronic skin condition characterized by the rapid growth of skin cells. It can help reduce the excessive skin cell production and inflammation associated with psoriasis.
Rosacea: PDT can be used to treat the redness and visible blood vessels associated with rosacea. It can help reduce the appearance of these symptoms.
Warts: PDT may be used to treat certain types of warts, particularly those that have not responded well to other treatments.
Photodamaged Skin: PDT can improve the appearance of photodamaged skin, including sun spots, fine lines, and uneven pigmentation.
Other Skin Lesions: PDT may also be considered for the treatment of other skin lesions, such as seborrheic keratosis, vascular malformations, and some types of skin infections.
Here's how photodynamic light therapy works:
Photosensitizing Agent: A photosensitizing agent, usually a drug or compound, is administered to the patient. This agent can be taken orally, injected into the bloodstream, or applied topically to the skin, depending on the condition being treated.
Accumulation in Target Tissue: The photosensitizing agent is absorbed by cells in the target tissue, such as cancer cells or abnormal skin cells. This process may take several hours to days, depending on the specific drug used.
Light Activation: After the photosensitizing agent has had time to accumulate in the target tissue, a specific wavelength of light is applied to the area. This light activates the photosensitizing agent, causing it to produce a form of oxygen that is toxic to the cells containing the agent.
Cell Damage and Destruction: The activated oxygen molecules produced by the photosensitizing agent damage and destroy the cells in the target tissue. This can lead to the death of cancer cells or the removal of abnormal tissue, depending on the condition being treated.
Photodynamic therapy is used in the treatment of several medical conditions, including:
Cancer: PDT can be used to treat certain types of cancer, including skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma), lung cancer, esophageal cancer, and certain types of head and neck cancers.
Skin Conditions: PDT is effective in treating various dermatological conditions, such as actinic keratosis (precancerous skin lesions), acne, and some forms of psoriasis.
Ophthalmology: PDT can be used to treat certain eye conditions like age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Other Conditions: PDT has also been explored as a treatment option for conditions like Barrett's esophagus (a precancerous condition of the esophagus) and some infections.
The specific photosensitizing agents and light sources used can vary depending on the condition being treated and the treatment protocol prescribed by the healthcare provider. It's essential to consult with a medical professional to determine if photodynamic therapy is an appropriate treatment option for your specific medical condition.
It's important to note that the specific photosensitizing agent and light wavelength used in PDT may vary depending on the condition being treated and the patient's individual circumstances. The treatment should always be administered by a qualified healthcare professional who can assess the condition and determine whether PDT is a suitable option. PDT can have side effects, and post-treatment care, including avoiding direct sunlight, is often necessary to minimize the risk of photosensitivity reactions.
Call or book an appointment online today!