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Philadelphia and Mainline Center of Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery

Written by Dr. Ringpfeil

Photodynamic Therapy

Insider Information: Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) For Acne

Photodynamic therapy is an excellent alternative to Accutane (isotretinoin). It achieves similar results and targets acne only where it is.

OMNILUX - PDT for acne and cancer treatment

Photodynamic therapy is covered by insurance for skin cancer / precancer treatments only. It is not covered for acne, scars, sebaceous gland hyperplasias, and skin rejuvenation.

65-70% of our patients fully control their acne after 4-6 PDT treatments ($600 / treatment) when performed every 4 weeks.

I apply Ameluz photosensitizing agent (rather than the Levulan Kerastick, which I find less effective for acne treatment) and let it incubate on the skin under Seran wrap for 1.5 hours and then activated by red light 633 nm for 3-20 minutes. The exact time will be determined by the tolerance or any redness occurring on the skin during activation.

After the treatment, sun light and fluorescent light protection is crucial for 42 hours after the application of the Metvixia. Most people who undergo PDT have some redness mild swelling for 24 hours after each treatment.

5% of patients experience a severe reaction with bright redness, swelling, and reactivation of acne that lasts intensely for one week and may require oral or topical steroid for several days and oral antibiotic for 10-14 days. If this rare reaction occurs, residual redness on the face may take up to 3-4 weeks to fully resolve. In those who have this severe reaction, only one treatment rather than 4-6 is typically necessary to control the acne. While nobody is pleased while in this severe phase, our patients uniformly said they would do it again given that their acne is gone afterwards or needs only minimal topical medication for control. The severe reaction can be avoided if the incubabtion time is reduced. However, for the majority of people that would mean undertreatment and payment for an ineffective treatment.

photodynamic therapy - PDT - Treatment
  • Expected Results
    • This photosensitizing treatment effectively treats inflammatory acne, rosacea, sebaceous gland hyperplasias as well as precancerous conditions and superficial skin cancers.
  • Preparation
    • Levulan Kerastick / Metvixia contains a clear solution of aminolevulinic acid that is applied to the skin for 1 to 2 hours (acne), or several hours (cancers / pre cancers), prior to activation with a light source.
  • Post treatment instruction
    • Sun exposure and fluorescent light exposure must be strictly avoided for 24-48 hours after the treatment as photosensitivity from the Levulan Kerastick / Metvixia persists for this amount of time. A zinc oxide / titanium dioxide containing sunscreen must be applied to any treated area that can not be covered by clothing.
  • Time to desired results
    • 4-6 treatments every 2-4 weeks for acne. Usually two treatments, 2 weeks apart, for precancerous conditions/skin cancers. 2-6 treatments, two weeks between treatments, for superficial skin cancers.
  • Contraindications
    • Sensitivity to aminolevulinic acid, photosensitizing medications.
  • Lasting results
    • Many months with acne/rosacea, up to 10 years with skin cancer.
  • Downtime
    • Gradually diminishing redness and peeling for several days. Crusting occurs when skin cancers are present. Topical acne/rosacea treatments can be resumed when the redness has faded.

How can we help you?

SKIN

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# of surveys: 3996
Last updated: 1/25/2023 4:59 PM

PATIENT RATINGS

Would you recommend us?

definitely
93.1%
probably
6.16%
maybe
0.58%
not likely
0.08%
no
0.02%

Compare our service to other similar practices

excellent
87.9%
very good
10.1%
good
1.8%
poor
0.06%
very poor
0%

Overall doctor performance

excellent
94.2%
very good
4.89%
good
0.80%
poor
0.03%
very poor
0%

The doctor listened to you attentively

excellent
93.9%
very good
4.97%
good
1.05%
poor
0.05%
very poor
0%

The doctor took time to answer your questions

excellent
94.0%
very good
4.66%
good
1.27%
poor
0.02%
very poor
0%

The doctor explained treatment options

excellent
94.3%
very good
4.16%
good
1.25%
poor
0.14%
very poor
0.02%

The doctor explained treatment options

excellent
92.0%
very good
5.69%
good
2.18%
poor
0.11%
very poor
0.0%

Front desk performance

excellent
85.6%
very good
10.2%
good
3.66%
poor
0.31%
very poor
0.08%

Aesthetician performance

excellent
88.6%
very good
7.61%
good
3.39%
poor
0.24%
very poor
0.08%

Office comfort

excellent
90.9%
very good
6.93%
good
2.08%
poor
0.05%
very poor
0.05%

Parking

excellent
66.4%
very good
14.4%
good
15.7%
poor
2.49%
very poor
0.9%

Friendliness of the staff during appointment

excellent
90.9%
very good
7.23%
good
1.85%
poor
0.05%
very poor
0%

What WE DID WELL

(Answers:674)

Friendly staff and very nice office space

#12011-05-27 14:24:47

The time and attention from the Doctor....

#22022-09-14

Jennifer was very helpful and professional. I really appreciated her advice on my skincare.

#32011-10-19 17:13:56

The staff was knowlegable in answering any additional questions I may have

#42022-07-12

I am very self conscious about my acne but everyone made me feel very comfortable!

#52023-01-26

Friendliness

#62011-01-03 09:55:52

The cleanliness of the office, friendliness of the staff...I am very satisfied with my visit!

#72011-10-28 10:22:57

LIKE THE WAY WAY THE EXPLAIN THE PROCEDURE ,AND ALSO LIKE THE STAFF PATIENT INTERACTION.

#82012-10-09 10:22:11

Artwork, National Geographic

#92011-05-18 16:03:39

Cute babes that worked in the office.

#102022-05-24

What can we do better?

(answers:373)

The only downside is parking!

#12011-11-17 12:08:50

Can't imagine any better first impression.

#22011-02-24 14:49:37

Nothing that I could think of would be better.

#32022-05-10

Have some toys or children books in the waiting room

#42022-07-02

I was feeling a bit thirsty the whole stay in the office, maybe making some water available during waiting time would make the stay more comfortable.

#52022-03-05

My only complaint is that I work and live (1 mile from) Center City, PA and I wish the office (Dr. Ringpfield) had weekend or later hours. Dr. Heckman was great but she cannot assist me with my cosmetic issues. Overall - like the office and professionalism.

#62011-08-10 18:44:27

we are okay

#72022-11-15

Maybe directions as "across from the Lexus place." Have the assistant say there may be a name recall test later, as she introduces herself.

#82010-12-07 10:07:04

Later evening hours and/or weekend hours.

#92011-05-27 15:59:15

less waiting time in the room

#102022-03-22

Customer Rating : 4.6

Based on 402 ratings
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