What is Levulan PDT?
Levulan PDT is a form of photodynamic therapy (PDT) that we use to treat actinic keratosis (precancer) and basal cell carcinoma (cancer). Photodynamic therapy uses a light-sensitizing drug and a special light to treat abnormal cells.* Levulan PDT is extremely useful for the treatment of multiple lesions on the scalp and face.* PDT is non-invasive and causes little to no scarring. Levulan is the brand name for the type medication (aminolevulinic acid) that is used during the procedure.
How does Levulan photodynamic therapy work?
The first step of this treatment involves the application of medication. We will prepare the lesion and clean it. In some cases, we may also scrape off the crust or scales of the lesions with a curette (a long, thin instrument with a hoop at one end). We will then apply the light-sensitizing, Levulan medication to the lesion(s). The medicated lesions are then covered with a bandage. During step two, the lesion(s) is/are exposed to blue light, 14-18 hours after the medication is applied. Blue light therapy causes the medication to react with oxygen, resulting in the reduction of abnormal cells.*
What can I expect during treatments?
We can perform treatments from our offices in Dover & Newington, New Hampshire and Peabody, Massachusetts. The procedure has two steps that can make it a bit time consuming (a half day or two visits). Two treatment sessions are generally required and will be spaced one week apart. Between the medication application and the light treatment, you MUST avoid sunlight and bright indoor lighting. Sunscreen will not protect the treated skin, so remember to cover up your skin. During the light treatment, you will wear goggles to protect your eyes from the strong blue light. You may feel pain, stinging or burning during the light portion. These sensations can last for several hours or a couple of days after the treatment.
What can I expect from the results?
While Levulan PDT treatments are very effective, there is a chance that you will need to continue to need periodic treatments for actinic keratoses, depending on your skin. Some skin actinic keratoses are more aggressive than others and will need additional treatments and closer follow-ups. Sun-damaged skin frequently needs follow-up and further treatments. Other procedures may be needed to fully treat your lesions. We will schedule follow-up appointments with you for the first few years after your photodynamic therapy, usually every 4-6 months. If you have a history of skin cancer, annual skin checks are a great way to stay ahead of melanoma and basal cell carcinoma.
Schedule a consultation in Seacoast, NH or North Shore, MA
To find out of Levulan photodynamic therapy can help you, schedule a consultation at Dermatology & Skin Health. We have three locations: Dover & Newington, New Hampshire and Peabody, Massachusetts, allowing us to serve both the Seacoast region and the North Shore. To get started, fill out the request form on our site or call us at (603) 742-5556 for our Dover & Newington locations or (978) 525-0100 for our Peabody location.