Photodynamic Therapy for Actinic Keratosis (Pre-cancers)

PDT with Levulan for actinic keratosis

Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy

At OC Dermatology, we use Blue Light with Levulan, a type of photodynamic therapy (PDT) that consists of the topical application of Levulan (aminolevulinic acid) combined with BLU-U, a specialized blue light treatment. It is used to treat actinic keratoses, a scaly type of pre-cancerous skin growth that commonly occurs secondary to sun damage.

The science behind photodynamic therapy (PDT)
Levulan is a substance that occurs naturally in the body in small amounts. After it is applied and absorbed into the skin it is converted into a potent photosensitizer, protophorphyrin IX. Because Levulan absorbs into actinic keratoses it selectively targets them. The blue light then activates these protophorphyrins which leads to shrinkage and damage to these pre-cancerous cells.

During the PDT treatment
While some patients will improve after just one treatment, several treatments (two or three) are usually necessary to significantly clear most actinic keratoses. Treatments are spaced 3-4 weeks apart. Results will vary among individuals. Visits consist of application of the Levulan, waiting while the Levulan absorbs into the skin for 30 – 60 minutes, then sitting under the BLU-U for 15 or more minutes. Patients will experience mild-moderate stinging or burning during the treatment.

After the PDT treatment
Patients must stay completely out of sunlight for 36 hours. Skin will look sunburned for up to a week.

Pre-treatment instructions – Face must be completely clean without makeup, creams or lotions.

Insurance Coverage Medicare and many PPO Insurances cover this treatment.

Call our office at 949-363-1788 to schedule a dermatology office visit if you would like to learn more about this treatment.

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