Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) in St. Louis

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an innovative procedure to treat superficial skin cancers such as actinic keratoses and a few other types of cancer cells. The procedure involves the use of a photosensitizing molecule in the form a drug and strong light source to activate the administered drug. PDT may also be used to treat certain types of acne.

PDT procedure can be comfortably received at the office of a dermatologist. The procedure is commonly referred to as blue light therapy. Dedicated, fabulous, and board certified dermatologist Dr. Jamie McGinness receives patients from Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and nearby areas across the landscape in the gorgeous Midwest for photodynamic therapy.

Steps Involved in PDT

In PDT, the first step is to apply a light sensitizing cream or liquid or an IV drug to the targeted area. In the second step, the treated area is incubated for a period of a few minutes to a few days. The third and final step involves exposing the affected tissue to a particular wavelength of light and then activating the photo sensitizing drug.

PDT is currently an evolving but highly promising treatment. A range of incubation periods, light sensitizing drugs, and light sources are available. But each option has a common goal of selective tissue destruction. A key limitation of the currently available PDT technology is that the tumors to be treated should be close to the skin’s surface for the light therapy to work.

Uses of PDT

PDT is currently being applied in a number of medical fields, including oncology, dermatology, cosmetic surgery, ophthalmology, and oral medicine.


PDT is now FDA approved for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, esophageal cancer, and pre-cancerous changes of Barrett’s esophagus.


PDT is used in dermatology for the treatment of very early, thin skin cancers called actinic keratoses. It is also effective in treating acne, rosacea, thin non-melanoma skin cancers, sun damage, enlarged sebaceous glands, wrinkles, warts, psoriasis, and other skin conditions.

Light Sources

IPL, laser light, LEDs, blue light, red light and even natural sunlight are among PDT light sources. The photo sensitizer drugs are activated using one of the light sources. The light source of the ideal wavelength for a particular condition is directly applied to the targeted tissue for an appropriate amount of time.

How does PDT work?

PDT causes direct injury to the affected cells and tissues in order to eliminate them. This is achieved with an activated oxygen molecule that can injure or destroy the targeted cells around it. The activated oxygen destroys the surrounding abnormal tissue. Once the treated area has healed after photodynamic therapy, the dermatologist will re-examine it to determine whether any additional biopsy or treatment may be necessary.

While some other treatments such as cryotherapy can only treated visible AK lesions, PDT may be a better treatment option because it also destroys the sub-clinical lesions. Multiple treatments of PDT may be necessary to achieve optimal results. Prolific, prudent, and board certified dermatologist Dr. Jamie McGinness receives patients from Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and other cities and communities in this region of the country for PDT or blue light therapy.

If you would like to learn more about procedures and treatments at Metro East Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center by Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Jamie L. McGinness please contact us here or call (618) 622-SKIN (7546)

Taking new patients in and around the greater St. Louis, Missouri and Illinois area: East St. Louis Missouri, Shiloh Illinois, Belleville, Millstadt, Saint Clair County, Madison County and more.

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