Actnic Keratoses (AKs) are precancerous lesions that appear on the skin as a result of chronic exposure to sunlight, affecting over 10 million Americans. These lesions typically manifest as rough or scaly patches with bumps, mottled patterns and cutaneous horns. They can vary in size from a pinpoint to several centimeters, and tend to develop on the face, scalp, arms, neck, ears, and legs. Since this condition develops gradually, it most often affects those over the age of 40.
AKs are considered the most common type of pre-cancerous lesion, and can be serious if not treated properly. There are many treatment options available for AKs, but many involve messy topical creams that need to be applied everyday, or more invasive surgical procedures. Levulan® Kerastick® is an advanced treatment option that combines a topical solution with photodynamic therapy for a safe, effective and noninvasive procedure that provides long-lasting results. Treatments are usually covered by insurance.
The Levulan Kerastick treatment is a two-part process that is completed within 24 hours with little interruption to your normal routine. The first step involves applying the Levulan topical solution to active AK lesions and allowing it to penetrate the cells. The photodynamic therapy treatment is performed the next day using the BLU-U® light system. This involves the patient wearing protective goggles and sitting in front of the machine while low intensity beams of blue light are delivered to targeted areas of the skin, which takes less than 20 minutes.
Recovery and Results
It is important for patients to avoid exposing lesions to sunlight for at least 40 hours after applying the topical solution. Some patients may experience burning, redness, swelling and crusting for a few days or weeks after the procedure. Moisturizer may be applied to relieve side effects and restore a normal appearance to the skin. Patients can return to their regular activities shortly after treatment.
The results of the Levulan Kerastick treatment are visible right away and will continue to improve over the next few weeks with no scarring. This treatment is ideal for most patients with AKs, although those with photosensitivity or issues with any of the components in the Levulan topical solution may not be candidates. Be sure to inform your doctor of any health issues or medications you are taking to determine whether or not Levulan Kerastick is right for you.