Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment that involves the use of a therapeutic cream. This cream becomes active when it is exposed to light. This therapy leaves hardly any scars.
PDT is a day treatment existing of 2 phases. It is performed by a trained nurse.
- Application of the cream
The nurse applies the cream and covers the area with plastic film and tin foil to protect it from air and light. The cream needs to be in place for 3-4 hours. Because the cream can break down under the influence of light and air, you will have to wait in a specially equipped patient room until the next part of the treatment.
- Radiation by intensive red light.
The film and foil are removed, and subsequently an intensive red light is placed 5 centimetres above the area that needs treatment. Due to the heat, you may feel some pain in the area where the cream has been applied. Of course, you can have a painkiller or local anaesthetic. When large or very sensitive areas have to be treated, you can receive a local anaesthetic before the treatment is started.
Although the intense red light is not harmful for the surrounding skin or the eyes, your eyes will be covered with glasses, because looking into the bright light is not pleasant. The duration of treatment depends on the skin condition that needs to be treated.
Which skin conditions can be treated with PDT?
- Beginning forms of skin cancer
- Postoperatively, after an operation for skin cancer
- Actinic keratosis
- M. Bowen