Photodynamic Therapy - Candidate

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Am I a good candidate for photodynamic therapy?

The best candidates for PDT may be those with lighter or fair skin with sun damage.

You may not be a good candidate for photodynamic therapy if you have darker skin that tends to turn brown or discolor with certain light or laser treatments. You may also not be a good candidate for PDT if you are very sensitive to light, burn extremely easily, would be unable to stay out of sunlight for the required 24-48 hours, or are taking medications which may make you very sensitive to sunlight or light-based therapies. People with certain medical diseases (such as systemic lupus erythematosus) may not be candidates for PDT because of increased risk of burning from the light exposure.

Your decision on the best treatment choice may depend on different factors such as the location and type of skin lesions, your past treatments, your overall health, and level of comfort. Your physician can help you sort through the different treatments.

Your physician needs to know of any other medical conditions that may affect your procedure or overall wound healing. You would want to make sure to tell your physician beforehand if you have any extreme sensitivity to light-based treatments, take medications which make you very sensitive to light, have had a problem or bad effect from prior PDT, have systemic lupus erythematosus, or suffer from a condition called porphyria.

Your PDT physician needs to know if you have had a history of staph or other skin infections in the recent past. You will also want to advise your physician if you have a history of frequent cold sores (herpes virus infections on your face). In that case, you may be prescribed an antiviral tablet (cold-sore prevention pill) to take before and after your procedure. You may be asked to wash with a special antibiotic soap or wash like chlorhexidine (Hibiclens) the night or morning before your procedure to help reduce the number of bacteria on your skin.

Patients may need to also advise their physician of any drug allergies such as to topical anesthetics or other photosensitizers. Additionally, the surgeon may need to know of any bleeding or bruising tendencies, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, or pregnancy.

Your physician will want to know of any factors that may affect your surgery or wound healing.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Sammy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 21

I had the PDT (photodynamic therapy) treatment four days ago for rosacea. It is a little claustrophobic sitting while the light box is on. I felt small 'tingling' sensations on my face during the procedure. Afterwards, I applied jojoba oil on my face several times a day and took ibuprofen as well as stayed inside. I did have some swelling the first two mornings and some redness. Day five now, I look normal with the exception of my skin looking dry. I believe this is due to the fact that it has not peeled yet (I was very diligent about the jojoba oil!). Overall, on a scale of 10 the pain was only about a 3 for me. I do look forward to seeing what the results will be to my rosacea and damaged skin cells.

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Comment from: NJ, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 26

I"ve undergone 3 photodynamic therapy (PDT) treatments for actinic keratosis/sun damage on my face. All were very painful and this last time I was nauseous afterwards. My concern is the dermatologists don"t explain or prepare patients well enough before the procedure. My bigger concern is that no pain medications are offered to counteract sitting there for that long with intense pain. You would think in this day and age all dermatologists would prescribe a "before" pill or some numbing agent along with the acid. I don"t know if I can endure any more - I understand the reason but the pain level is horrible. I had a 2 hour drive home and the first time was totally unprepared and suffered terribly. The next two times I was prepared with ibuprofen, cold packs, etc. to endure the drive home.

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