Photodynamic Therapy

Dr Touma has the only center of skin photodynamic therapy in the Middle East.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) involves the use of a photosensitizing agent (Aminolevulinic Acid, brand name: Levulan Kerastick) that is applied to sun-damaged or pre-cancerous areas of the skin, and is allowed to penetrate for about 1 hour or longer. The treated area is then exposed to a specific wavelength of light (blue light or laser). The reaction of the light and sensitized skin leads to a sunburn-like effect that exfoliates the superficial damaged layers of the skin. The process takes about 5-7 days to heal, the usual end result is mild to moderate rejuvenation of the skin and resolution of approximately 90% of the pre-cancerous growths. This process is  FDA approved for treatment of pre-cancerous growths. Certain types of superficial skin cancer may respond to PDT. Also PDT may be used for some cases of acne especially resistant types that are not responding to treatment, and is equivalent to 2-3 monthes of Ro-Accutane(or isotretinoin), without their side effects.

Research done by Dr. Touma and his colleagues at Boston University has made major contributions to the field of PDT, by making the treatment more practical, and showing that signs of aging improve with the treatment.


Patient with severe sun damage before and after photodynamic therapy


Procedure Description

First we apply the photosensitizer solution to your skin. After 1 hour, you will be treated with a special blue light for approximately 17 minutes. (Another light source or laser may be used). During the treatment, you will be given special goggles to wear to protect your eyes.You may feel stinging, tingling, prickling, or burning of the lesions. After treatment, you should stay out of the sun or bright light as much as possible for at least 2 days.

Patient with severe sun damage before and after photodynamic therapy


Side Effects

The skin will turn red and swollen in the following 48 hours, then the reaction will subside. Some crusting may be noted. There should be some discomfort, but no significant pain. After 1 week, there might be some residual redness that will resolve after a few days and can be covered with make up. Reactivation of the cold sore virus can occur with the treatment, therefore you will placed on antiviral oral treatment for 5 days after the treatment, starting the night before.