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Uses For Photodynamic Therapy

Sep 1, 2008
Cosmetic treatments have come a long way in a relatively short period of time. Today, many of the procedures that are done in this area do not require traditional surgical methods to complete. With the advent of many skin resurfacing treatments and the introduction of laser surgery, conventional surgical methods are much less common than they once were. The good news is that current procedures are being refined all the time to make them less invasive and more effective. In addition, new treatments are being introduced all the time.

Photodynamic therapy is one of the newest treatments used for cosmetic purposes today. This therapy combines the use of specialized light sources with medications that sensitize the body to receive the light treatment most effectively. The process of this treatment is threefold. First, administer the medication either topically or intravenously. Second, allow an incubation period for the medication to take effect, which can range from a few minutes to a few hours. Once the medication has properly sensitized the body to the light, the treatment can begin. There are different types of light that can be used for photodynamic therapy, including light-emitting diodes (LEDs), blue light, red light and lasers. The type of light used will be determined by the type of treatment that is being administered.

There are many uses for this new photodynamic therapy. One of the first functions of this procedure was for cancer treatment. Currently this therapy is used to treat certain types of lung cancer, esophageal cancer and pre-cancerous conditions found in the esophagus known as Barrett's syndrome. It can also be effective in removing cancer and pre-cancerous lesions found on the skin. In addition, this therapy is currently being studied for use in treating cervical cancer, prostate cancer and some types of brain cancer.

On the dermatology front, in addition to treating pre-cancerous skin conditions, this therapy can also be used on acne, psoriasis and rosacea. It has been used on warts, scars and wrinkles with some success as well. It has not been shown to be particularly effective in removing birthmarks or moles. The type of treatment that is being conducted helps the doctor know what type of light to use, how long the sessions need to be and how frequently treatments should be repeated.

Photodynamic therapy is beneficial to the patient on many levels. First, this treatment has proven to be a highly effective means of treating many diseases and conditions that do not necessarily respond will to other forms of treatment. Risk and side effects are fairly minimal and may include some pain and redness in the area. However, this therapy is still very new to the medical community, and it is difficult to predict what the long term effects of these treatments might be.

Photodynamic therapy is quickly gaining popularity with patients and the medical community alike, which is making it easier to find clinics and doctors that are equipped to handle this procedure correctly. If you have any of the conditions listed above, it might be worth talking to your doctor about whether this therapy is the right choice for you.
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