Photodynamic Therapy for Actinic Keratosis

BLU-U Photodynamic Therapy® in St. Louis

What are actinic keratoses?

Actinic keratoses are red flaky spots caused by sun exposure. They are precancerous spots that, if left untreated, may develop into skin cancer.

What is Levulan photodynamic therapy?

Levulan photodynamic therapy is an effective treatment for extensive (numerous) actinic keratoses. The Levulan is a medicine that, when applied to an actinic keratosis, is absorbed by the abnormal cells in the actinic keratosis. The medicine is activated by a special blue light, which removes the abnormal cells of the actinic keratosis.

What will happen during and after treatment?

The first step in Levulan Kerastick photo-dynamic therapy (PDT) for actinic keratoses is application of the Levulan Kerastick topical solution to actinic keratoses. After it is applied to the actinic keratoses, you will remain in the office while the Levulan is absorbing into the skin. During this time, the actinic keratoses will become sensitive to light. Care should be taken to keep the treated actinic keratoses dry and out of bright light.

Ninety minutes after application of Levulan Kerastick you will receive blue light treatment, which is the second and final step in the treatment. Prior to blue light treatment the actinic keratoses will be rinsed with tap water. You will be given goggles to wear as eye protection during the blue light treatment. The blue light is of low intensity and will not heat the skin. However, during the light treatment, which lasts 16 minutes, you will experience sensations of tingling, stinging, prickling or burning of the treated spots. These feelings of discomfort should improve by the end of the light treatment.

Following treatment, the actinic keratoses and, to some degree, the surrounding skin will redden, and swelling and scaling may also occur. However, these changes are temporary and should resolve within 1-2 weeks after treatment. A second treatment is done 1 month later to remove any remaining actinic keratoses.

Light sensitivity

After Levulan kerastick topical solution is applied to the actinic keratoses, you should avoid exposure of the treated actinic keratoses to sunlight or bright indoor light during the0 period prior to blue light treatment. If you feel stinging and/or burning on the actinic keratoses, exposure to light should be reduced. After treatment, you should protect treated spots from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat or similar head covering of light-opaque material. Sunscreens or sun blocks will not protect you against light sensitivity reactions, which may occur during the first two days following treatment.

For emergencies at night or during the weekend, call (314) 878-3839, leave a message and the doctor will contact you shortly thereafter.

Contact us to schedule a consultation at our St. Louis, MO office today.

 

*Results may vary per patient.