Patient Comments: Photodynamic Therapy - Candidate

For what condition did you have photodynamic therapy?

Comment from: Red One, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 25

I had photodynamic therapy treatment done yesterday and was apprehensive going in after reading the testimonials on this site. It wasn't that bad! I took three ibuprofen prior to the actually light treatment. As the nurse prepared me, the first three minutes are the worse and it was about a 3 on a scale of 10. Little pin pricks, tingling ... really no big deal. I was expecting the light to be hot, like in a tanning bed but it wasn't at all. I didn't even use a fan. Once I was home. I applied ice packs for a few minutes every hour for the first few hours. By evening, my face was bright red ... looked like a terrible sunburn, but it did not hurt at all. Today, 24 hours after the treatment, my face is still very red, but really not painful or tight like sunburn would be. I have kept my entire face covered with a thin layer of Aquaphor, as my doctor directed me to do. I slept propped up last night and continue to take Advil to minimize any swelling. My sister had a terrible experience with this treatment last year, so I was prepared for the worse. So far, so good. I'm staying indoors for the 48 hours after treatment as advised by my doctor. Anxious to see the results after the skin peels. I have rosacea and have had multiple basil cell skin cancers in the past.

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Comment from: steve, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 13

I had a full facial photodynamic therapy treatment yesterday. I will have to say the doctor did not fully prepare me for what I would experience. Said it would feel like bee stings all over your face. I was actually feeling like someone was tearing the skin off your face. About five minutes under the light I thought about crying out for help. Eight minutes in the nurse came back in to check and by then face was throbbing and she called the doctor in. He said he had the treatment and staying with full 16 minutes would be a matter of will power and longer I stayed the better the results. Stayed the full 16 minutes. Today, face feels like severe sunburn. Hope the gain will be worth the pain. Dread going back if second treatment is necessary!

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Comment from: Blue light repeater, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 15

I have had the blue light treatment a few times. This last time, four days ago, was the mildest response – which was expected since I have done it before. However, I did almost faint this time and had to stop 15 seconds before the time was up. This near-fainting response happened the first time as well, so I suggest you make sure the nurse stays nearby. After the first time I did this treatment, I decided to try a small amount of Xanax because I find the claustrophobic experience and the pain to be almost intolerable. “Almost” is the operative word, because if you can hang in there for the treatment, the results are great: for both the removal of actinic keratosis (AKs) and the look of your skin. The most painful post-procedure response I had was when the blue light was paired with laser to increase the effect. I could barely open my eyes the next morning due to the swelling. Ice packs, a dark room, and a loving family are helpful too. Emollient lotion and a small amount of cortisone cream also help the swelling, itching and tight feeling of the skin after it has been burned. Definitely don't plan on doing much for the 48 hours following the face procedure.

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Comment from: Capid, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 21

I can usually tolerate pain pretty well, however, I was surprised how painful the PDT treatment turned out to be. It's like getting a bad sun or acid burn and not being able to move away from it if you want to finish the treatment. I had tears in my eyes! Though they said this was not a typical reaction, I was unprepared. Afterwards it was about like a bad sunburn feeling and healed about as easily. My advice - if you have to get this done, take a pain med before the light hits!

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Comment from: SL, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 09

I have had PDT treatment 2 times in the last 6 months for AK's. It is one of the most painful things I have ever experienced. I am not sure where this website is getting their information but I read somewhere else the light treatment is considered to have a pain level of 8 and 3% of all individuals cannot continue the 16 min 40 sec treatment. I pushed through and did it but also was taking Dr. prescribed pain meds and continued so for 2 days after. It is well worth the pain, as my skin looks great and it is very smooth. Just prepare for the pain.

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Comment from: Garry, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: May 05

I had PDT treatment last week for Actinic Karatoses on both arms after a sixteen hour incubation period. The prescribed time under the lights was sixteen minutes and forty seconds. I made it to six minutes when it was totally unbearable and had to stop. The next two days were terrible, the area around my elbows and forearms swelled and the burning was a lot more than the worst sunburn you could imagine. On the fourth day, the burning subsided but the swelling is still there and now blistering and weeping are taking place. This has been a horrible experience and had I known it would be this bad I never would have done it. My arms feel and look like they were dipped into a deep fat fryer. PDT, never again for me.

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