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Tony Tonks - Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Canberra ACT

Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT)

Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT)

Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT)

PDT utilises a chemical reaction activated by light energy from the sun to selectively treat various skin conditions. At this practice it is used for solar damage (actinic keratosis) some early skin cancers and rosacea.

It works by applying a solution 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) to the skin. The damaged and abnormal cells take up the 5-ALA and when activated by sunlight produce oxygen free radicals which destroy damaged cells. PDT can be used on any part of the face or body.

You will require a consultation with Dr Tonks to assess your suitability.

Why treat with PDT?

On the day of treatment the face is cleansed and buffed with any crusting on the skin removed. Sunscreen will be applied to block out UV rays, followed by application of the (ALA). You will then be directed to sit in indirect sunlight/daylight for two hours so that the treatment takes effect. During this time you may feel a mild hot/tingling sensation. After the timed exposure has taken place you will need to cleanse your face and apply a thin layer of vasoline.

Two oral paracetamol may be taken every six hours as needed and/or ice packs for 20 minutes every hour as required, an antihistamine may assist with inflammation and itchy symptoms.

What to expect after the treatment

Continue with the thin layer of vasoline as needed. Within the first 2-3 days the skin will become red, tight and there may be some crusting and small pustules. Once this peels away the skin will remain pink for up to 10 days or so depending on the severity of the sun damage and the skin’s response to the treatment. You may use QV Intensive Body Moisturiser instead of the vasoline after 3 days. We will see you back in practice within a week after the initial treatment to place you underneath a painless healing LED light.

For more information about PDT, visit the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons website.