A cutting edge technology - Photodynamic Therapy - that has been approved by the FDA for cancer treatment is being successfully used in cosmetic surgery cases by some surgeons.
PDT combines a drug (photosensitizer/photosensitizing agent, e.g., porfimer sodium or Photofrin) with a specific type of light to kill cancer cells.
Now some plastic surgeons are using it as a relatively painless way to
prevent early precursors of skin cancer - for instance, to treat pre-cancerous lesions called actinic keratoses, which are scaly and crusty areas of severe sun damage on the skin caused by excess sun exposure. If left untreated, actinic keratoses could develop into malignant tumors, which must be surgically removed, according to Dr. Sam Naficy, a plastic surgeons who is using PDT. PDT effectively
treats blotchy skin caused by sun
damage, fine lines and wrinkles, rosacea
or redness of the skin caused by superficial blood
vessels, enlarged sweat glands and even
acne. Treating acne using PDT exposes patients to significantly fewer side effects than
treatments, such as
Accutane, which is now prescribed under more restrictive measures.
PDT involves the application of aminolevulinic acid (Levulan) to the skin. Abnormal skin cells, such as pre-cancerous skin cells or very active sebaceous glands, are especially attracted to the Levulan and selectively absorb the solution. When the Levulan is activated by exposure to intense pulsed light, the abnormal skin cells are selectively eradicated.
Acne laser treatment)
local plastic surgeon may be able to offer you the procedure. Dr. Nacify advises that patients receiving
PDT must avoid all sun exposure for at least 24-48 hours before and after treatment." The NIH recommends that after that period, should avoid direct sunlight and bright indoor light for at least another 6 weeks after treatment. Fall and winter months are, therefore, the most popular times for treatment.
If your next
question is about cost of the procedure, every physician
will set her/his own cost, but expect to pay a $3,000 for
each treatment and you will need about five treatments,
according to Dan Roberts, director of the Macular
Degeneration Support Group. But don't panic
yet! In most cases, unlike all other cosmetic
procedures, almost all of it should be covered by
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