What is photo dynamic therapy (PDT)?


Photo dynamic therapy is a treatment used to eradicate superficial BCC, Bowens disease, actinic damage and solar keratosis.


It can work as well as surgery in some instances without any long-term side effects and is less invasive. Unlike 5-FU cream (Efudix), the treatment is short and has a high degree of compliance.


 It is particularly beneficial for older patients with lower leg issues that don’t respond well to surgery. Actinic damage on scalps responds very well to PDT. In patients with widespread field change in their skin, PDT can clear an area effectively, allowing easier clinical assessment of any residual lesions.


Photodynamic therapy involves the use of a chemical ALA, activated by a single wave length blue light. Cream is applied to a treated area for between 1-3 hours and dysplastic cells selectively absorb the active product. 420mm light activates the chromophore and destroys dysplastic cells. Normal epithelium, which has a lower metabolic rate,  are not affected.


What the patients should expect for the first treatment


We ask that patients come in with clean skin and no make-up applied.

Skin is cleaned and a light micro dermabrasion is conducted over the treating area to remove loose scale.

A cream is applied to the treatment area, and patient is asked to refrain for exposure to direct sunlight.

·      Following the correct incubation time, the cream is removed with a damp cloth and the area exposed to the PDT lamp for a maximum of 9 mins.

Patients are monitored constantly during the treatment.  Aloe Vera soothing gel is applied to the treated area. The patients will expect to have a stinging sensation similar to sunburn following treatment and are encouraged to apply any form of moisturiser over the next few weeks.


** Patients can expect to have some discomfort post PDT treatment, similar to sunburn **’




There is an out of pocket expense of $300 which covers two treatments. PDT is not claimable on either Medicare or Private health funds.