Photodynamic Therapy for Skin Cancer | Levulan PDT for Actinic Keratosis

Naficy Plastic Surgery & Rejuvenation Center
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Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a "magic bullet" skin cancer treatment that uses a combination of a photosensitizing agent (Levulan), and a particular type of light (laser or intense pulse light device). The photosensitizing agent (Levulan) is applied to the skin in the form of a liquid and is selectively absorbed by tumor cells over a short span of time. When photosensitizers are exposed to a specific wavelength of light, they produce a form of oxygen that which selectively destroys the tumor cells.

Photodynamic therapy is a way to selectively target certain skin cancers and precancerous conditions

Photodynamic therapy techniques have recently been FDA approved for the treatment of some skin cancers, and precancerous lesions such as actinic keratoses. Aminolevulinic acid (ALA or Levulan) has gained popularity and FDA approval as a photosensitizer for photodynamic therapy for actinic keratoses. If untreated, these actinic keratoses may progress into squamous cell cancers.

Photodynamic therapy for actinic keratosis

Photodynamic therapy for actinic keratosis

ALA is a natural occurring building block of porphyrin. Topically applied ALA induces a rapid synthesis and actual overproduction of protoporphyrin IX (PPIX), a naturally occurring precursor of heme or hemoglobin, and a strong photosensitizer. PPIX is rapidly broken down or converted to heme within a day after treatment, so enough time is allowed for light therapy yet prolonged photosensitivity (excessive sun-sensitivity) is avoided.

Levulan (ALA) is applied to the skin

Application of Levulan (ALA) followed by intense pulse light (IPL) therapy produces selective destruction of the targeted pre-cancerous and cancerous cells

One of the pleasant side effects of photodynamic therapy is that it also rejuvenates the aging skin, treating broken capillaries, rosacea, brown spots, and fine lines. After photodynamic therapy is completed, strict sun avoidance for 1-2 days is required.

Photodynamic therapy also improves the appearance of aging skin

Contact Us

If you are interested in pursuing photodynamic therapy for your skin condition you may contact us to schedule an appointment. If you are not sure about what treatment would be ideal for your condition, one of our nursing staff will contact you and conduct a phone interview to assess how we may best serve your needs.

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Naficy Plastic Surgery & Rejuvenation Center     1110 112th Ave NE Suite 150 Bellevue, WA 98004     (425) 450-0880